San Francisco Chronicle. The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that California must get a waiver from the US Environmental Protection Agency before it can limit sulfur emissions from ocean-going ships that enter the state’s waters.
The Ocean-Going Vessel Auxiliary Diesel Engine Regulation, which requires ships to use low-sulfur fuel instead of dirtier bunker fuel on auxiliary diesel engines within 24 miles of the coast, became effective 1 January 2007.
The California Air Resources Board had ceased enforcement of the ruling on 30 August 2007, pursuant to an injunction ordered by a federal district court. ARB appealed and requested a stay of the injunction pending its appeal. The court granted he stay 23 October 2007, and ARB resumed enforcement.
However, the court has now ruled that implementing the low-sulfur requirements will require a waiver from the EPA.
State Attorney General Jerry Brown, whose office represented the Air Resources Board, said lawyers are studying the ruling to see if the board can rewrite its regulations and implement them without EPA approval. He said he would also recommend that the board ask the full appeals court for a rehearing.
Brown has asked the EPA on the state’s behalf to regulate ships’ emissions of greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, and has also sued the agency over its refusal to let California enforce limits on greenhouse gases from cars and trucks.