CARB approves stricter emissions rules for ships

| 11/16/2007

California continues its quest to make sharp cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, and this time the ships that bring a large chunk of imports into the United States from Asia are the target.

The California Air Resources Board approved a regulation Thursday, Nov. 15, that they say will reduce harmful emissions from commercial harbor craft by 50 percent by the year 2015.

The new rule requires older engines in use on ferries, excursion vessels, tugboats and towboats to be replaced with newer and cleaner burning engines beginning in 2009.

“Today’s board action brings new protection to the thousands of Californians who live and work in port communities,” said CARB Chair Mary Nichols. “While harbor craft play a vital role at our ports and along our coast, they also contribute significantly to air emissions most responsible for premature death, respiratory illnesses and increased risk of heart disease. With today’s vote, ARB is now regulating yet another diesel source that has fouled California’s air for years.”

CARB estimates that three tons of diesel soot and 73 tons of nitrogen oxides are emitted from commercial harbor craft engines daily.

Truckers are familiar with the series of rules CARB has approved and considered in recent years, including next year’s ban on idling longer than five minutes.

In December, CARB is scheduled to consider approving a port drayage truck plan that would require all truck engines in the state to be 2007 emissions compliant by 2014.

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have each adopted a similar plan, though it would require all trucks entering the ports to be 2007 emissions compliant by 2012.

OOIDA has expressed concern that all three port plans could interfere with long-haul truckers outside of California who need port access to pickup and deliver loads.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer