Aimed at significantly cutting marine diesel emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule setting strict engine and fuel standards for large U.S.-flagged ships. The regulation also harmonizes with international standards, according to the EPA.
Domestic and international standards are expected to reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from large marine diesel engines by about 1.2 million tons and particulate matter (PM) emissions by about 143,000 tons by 2030, according to the EPA. When fully implemented, this coordinated effort will reduce NOx emissions from ships by 80 percent, and PM emissions by 85 percent, compared to current emissions, says the federal agency.
EPA estimates this effort will prevent between 12,000 and 31,000 premature deaths and 1.4-million work days lost in 2030 as well as deliver between $110 and $270 billion in health benefits in the same year.
This rule, under the Clean Air Act, complements EPA’s strategy to designate an emissions control area (ECA) for thousands of miles of U.S. and Canadian coasts. In March, the United States and Canada asked the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to establish emission control areas along their coastlines to tighten emission standards on foreign ships operating in those waters.
The IMO is set to vote in March 2010 on the adoption of the joint U.S.-Canada ECA, which would result in stringent standards for large foreign-flagged and domestic ships operating within the designated area.
In September, the international shipping industry asked the United Nations to establish rules that spell out the expectations for maximum emissions.