Hearing on Additional Air Pollution Controls for Large Ships

Monday, August 13, 2007
On August 9, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works conducted a field hearing in San Pedro entitled Hearing to Examine Port Pollution and the Need for Additional Controls on Large Ships. Chairwoman Boxer (D-CA) discussed the health impacts of air pollution. Representative Solis (D-CA) seconded those remarks. Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles testified about the importance of green growth in the Port of Los Angeles. Mayor Bob Foster of Long Beach stated that the level of growth contemplated for the Port of Long Beach is not sustainable without environmental enhancements.

Roy Wilson, South Coast Air Quality Management District, testified that the District can not meet its federally-mandated air quality standards without significant air emissions reductions by ocean-going ships. Dr. Geraldine Kantz, Port of Los Angeles, discussed the port’s Clean Air Action Plan. Mr. Richard Steinke, Port of Long Beach, stated that air emissions from ocean-going ships are a global issue. Professor Ed Avol, University of Southern California, testified that the pollution and health impacts by port operations are disproportionately borne by the local region. Doctor John G. Miller provided his opinion regarding life in the Diesel Death Zone. A major purpose of the field hearing was to build support for the Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act of 2007, introduced by Senator Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Solis (D-CA) in companion versions (S. 1499 and H.R. 2548 respectively) to amend the Clean Air Act to reduce air pollution from marine vessels. The bills, if enacted into law, would wholly ignore MARPOL Annex VI and impose unilateral standards for sulfur levels in marine fuels and require advanced marine vessel emission controls on new and in-use marine engines. While a phase-in period is provided, the requirements would apply to all ocean-going marine vessels that enter or leave a port or offshore terminal of the United States. None of the written testimony at the field hearing mentioned that MARPOL Annex VI is already in effect worldwide, except for the United States. This solely is because Congress has failed to enact legislation implementing the Annex. Source: HK Law

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