For Immediate Release: May 24, 2007

Contacts: Peter Rafle (EPW/Boxer) (202) 224-8832
Scott Gerber (Feinstein): 202-224-9629
Sonia Meléndez (Solis) 202-225-5464

Boxer, Feinstein, Solis Introduce Bills
to Clean Up Air Pollution at America's Ports

"Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act" Would
Cut Smog and Soot from Ships Using U.S. Ports

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced The Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act of 2007 (S.1499) to cut air pollution from ships that contribute to dangerous smog and soot pollution around America's ports. Emissions from ships are among the major causes of persistent air-quality problems at California's ports, including the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, and at other ports around the nation. Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-CA), Vice Chair of the Environment and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, is introducing the same legislation in the House of Representatives today and is joined by Congresswoman Jane Harman (CA-36) and Congresswoman Lois Capps (CA-23).

Senator Boxer said: "It is long past time to tighten controls on pollution from ships in our harbors. For too long, people who live near our busiest shipping facilities have paid a price with their families' health. This legislation will speed the process of clearing the air at America's ports."

Senator Feinstein said: “The Los Angeles and Long Beach Port is one of the world’s most dynamic economic engines. But the byproduct of all of this economic activity is air pollution – largely caused by the diesel-powered engines of large container ships, tankers and cruise ships. And the soot and smog caused by these ships pose a serious threat to public health. So, it’s urgent that steps be taken soon to improve the region’s air quality. The millions of individuals who live and work in Southern California deserve clean air. And this bill would help put us on that path by requiring a reduction in the sulfur content of marine fuel – a major cause of particulate pollution in the region – by 90 percent by 2010, and significantly cleaner marine engines by 2012. I would like to thank Senator Boxer for her leadership on this issue.”

Congresswoman Solis said: "For many low income and communities of color such as those I represent, living by the ports is not a choice but an economic reality. It is our responsibility to ensure that as we grow the economy, we grow it green both for them and the workers at the ports," said Solis. "I am proud that this legislation will reduce emissions from marine vessels at our nation's ports. Together we can ensure that as our economy grows our public health improves, workers have a safer environment, and costs associated with impacts of pollution on public health are reduced."

Large ships, particularly foreign-flagged vessels, are among the largest unregulated sources of pollutants in Southern California. Foreign-flagged vessels emit almost 90% of all vessel pollution. The high sulfur content of marine fuels causes ships to emit over 50 percent of the sulfur oxides (SOx) pollution in Southern California - one of the major components of soot and smog pollution.

The Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act requires ships to use cleaner-burning, lower-sulfur fuels that reduce health-threatening soot and smog-producing emissions, when the ships are in or near U.S. ports. The bill also will impose tougher emissions standards for marine engines.
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