Coast Guard, EPA to Enforce Air Pollution Requirements for Ships

July 8, 2011
Vessels operating in U.S waters are required to limit nitrogen oxide emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) announced an agreement to jointly enforce U.S. and international air pollution requirements for vessels operating in U.S. waters.

The requirements establish limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and require the use of fuel with lower sulfur content, protecting people’s health and the environment by reducing ozone-producing pollution. The most stringent requirements apply to ships operating within 200 nautical miles of the coast of North America.

The large marine diesel engines that provide propulsion and auxiliary power on many ocean-going vessels emit significant amounts of pollution. Without further action, EPA estimates that by 2030, NOx emissions from ships will more than double, growing to 2.1 million tons per year.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by EPA and the USCG outlines the agencies’ commitment to jointly enforce federal and international laws that EPA projects could prevent 12,000 to 31,000 premature deaths annually by 2030.

Under the MOU, both the USCG and EPA will perform inspections and investigations, and will take appropriate enforcement actions if a violation is detected.

A letter to industry was also signed by USCG and EPA to provide the regulated community with notice that USCG and EPA will be taking measures to promote compliance with federal and international air pollution requirements and will be actively pursuing violations.

Source: EPA

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