U.S. House of Representatives OKs Bill To Cut Ship Pollution
WASHINGTON -- The House approved legislation late Monday to cut polluting emissions spewed by ships powered by diesel fuel.
Under the House bill, the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency would be given the authority to develop and enforce emission limits on the thousands of domestic and foreign-flagged vessels that enter U.S. waters each year.
The legislation would bring U.S. ship emission standards and requirements in line with pollution regulations followed by other countries.
Those regulations were adopted by the International Maritime Organization in 1997 to limit sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ship exhausts that deplete the Earth's ozone.
The organization's regulations entered into force internationally in 2005 and the U.S. Senate adopted the treaty the following year.
Ocean-going vessels produce more sulfur dioxide emissions than all the world's cars, trucks and buses combined, according to a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation, made up of transportation and air quality officials and experts from around the world.
The study shows that the sulfur content of marine fuel is far greater than highway diesel fuel. Ships use fuel with an average sulfur content of 27,000 parts per million (ppm) compared to just 10 to 15 ppm for road fuels in Europe, Japan and the United States.
Rep. James Oberstar, the bill's co-sponsor, said he hoped the Senate would quickly pass the House legislation and send it to President Bush to sign into law.