California Lawmakers Advocate Postponement Of New Marine Vessel Retrofitting Rule

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  • A coalition of California legislators, spearheaded by Representative Michelle Steel, has penned a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, urging a delay in implementing a new marine vessel retrofitting regulation.
  • The regulation, aimed at reducing emissions, mandates towing vessels in California to upgrade to cleaner combustion engines and install diesel particulate filters (DPFs).
  • However, lawmakers express concerns over safety hazards associated with DPFs and the potential economic burden on the maritime industry, affecting over 50,000 jobs and cargo movement.

The Commercial Harbor Craft (CHC) regulation, initially enacted in 2008 and amended in 2010, has been instrumental in curbing air pollutants within California’s marine sector. However, recent amendments by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have widened the scope of the regulation, compelling towing vessels to transition to cleaner Tier 3 and 4 engines and incorporate DPFs. Lawmakers argue that while the intention to reduce emissions is commendable, the practical implications of these amendments raise significant concerns, particularly regarding safety risks and economic impact.

Economic and Operational Concerns

The legislators highlight the potential economic ramifications of enforcing the new regulation, citing estimations that each vessel owner could face compliance costs of up to $5 million. Such financial burdens could jeopardize the viability of maritime operations and result in job losses within the tugboat, towboat, and barge industry. Moreover, the rule’s stringent requirements could disrupt the smooth movement of approximately 665 million tons of domestic cargo annually, further exacerbating economic challenges.

Call for Delay and Reevaluation

In their letter to Governor Newsom, the lawmakers underscore the urgency of revisiting the implementation timeline for the CHC regulation. They emphasize the need for comprehensive stakeholder consultations and thorough safety assessments to address the concerns raised by industry stakeholders. By advocating for a postponement of the regulation’s enforcement, the legislators aim to safeguard both the economic interests and safety of Californians while ensuring sustainable environmental practices in the maritime sector.

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Source: Gcaptain