|Chart of the proposed North American Emission Control Area. Source: EPA Click to enlarge.|
The US and Canada have 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.
The proposed area of the ECA includes waters adjacent to the Pacific coast, the Atlantic/Gulf coast and the eight main Hawaiian Islands. The proposed ECA would extend 200 nautical miles (230 miles, 370 km) from the coastal baseline, except that it would not extend into marine areas subject to the sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction of any State other than the United States or Canada.
ECAs, as defined under the MARPOL regulations, carry more stringent emissions requirements—which will continue to strengthen— for ocean-going vessels (OGVs). ECA standards will ultimately cut sulfur in fuel by 98%, and achieve reductions of NOx by 80%, PM by 85%, and SOx by 95%, relative to current levels from OGVs. (Earlier post.)
In the US and Canada combined, the ECA is expected to reduce emissions of NOx by 320,000 tons, PM2.5 by 90,000 tons, and SOx by 920,000 tons per year, which is 23%, 74%, and 86% below current levels, respectively. The overall cost of the ECA is estimated at $3.2 billion. The ECA would be expected to save as many as 8,300 lives and provide relief from respiratory symptoms for over three million people each year.
Under this program, large ships such as oil tankers and cargo ships that operate in ECAs will face stricter emissions standards. To achieve these reductions, ships must use fuel with no more than 1,000 parts per million sulfur (0.1%) beginning in 2015, and new ships must used advanced emission control technologies beginning in 2016.
|US Ports and non-attainment areas. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.|
Air pollution from ships is expected to grow rapidly as controls on other mobile sources take effect and port traffic increases. Ocean-going vessels, which are primarily foreign owned and operated, dock at more than 100 US ports, more than 40 of which are in metropolitan areas that fail to meet federal air quality standards.
EPA led the US effort to develop the proposal in coordination with federal partners such as the Coast Guard, State Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Canada joined the US as a co-proposer on the ECA proposal, advancing a strategy for a coordinated geographic emissions control program.
The proposal, submitted to the IMO on 27 March, is one part of a comprehensive EPA program to address harmful emissions from ocean going vessels under the National Clean Diesel Campaign and the Clean Ports Program.
In parallel to the ECA proposal, EPA is developing standards for Category 3 marine diesel engines (per-cylinder displacement of 30 liters or greater) that are expected to require the application of high efficiency aftertreatment emission controls similar in stringency to the new NOx standards that will apply to all engines in the ECA. The agency plans to issue the CAA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in Spring 2009 and finalize it by December 2009.
The IMO, a United Nations agency, will begin reviewing the proposal in July. Approval of the proposal could occur as soon as next year.