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Shipping Association Files Suit Against ARB Emission Regulations

30 April 2009

Journal of Commerce. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents shipping lines and terminal operators, is challenging California Air Resources Board (ARB) regulations in a lawsuit in Federal court, contending that the federal government preempts states in regulating vessel operations beyond a three-mile limit.

In June 2008, ARB adopted a regulation that requires ocean-going vessels (OGV) within 24 nautical miles of California’s coastline to use lower-sulfur marine distillates in their main and auxiliary engines and auxiliary boilers, rather than the dirtier heavy-fuel oil called bunker fuel. (Earlier post.)

PMSA is seeking a permanent injunction against enforcement of the regulation.

PMSA filed its suit in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Calif., and seeks to enjoin the California Air Resources Board from enforcing the low-sulfur fuel regulation that is scheduled to take effect on July 1.

...PMSA objects to CARB’s attempt to extend its vessel regulations into federal waters. Also, ocean carriers prefer an international approach to vessel emissions regulations, such as the regulations contained in the MARPOL convention to which the U.S. is a signatory.

In March, the US and Canada submitted a proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the designation of an Emission Control area (ECA) around their coastlines in which stringent international emission controls would apply to ocean-going ships. (Earlier post.)

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