An ongoing initiative to cut air pollution and protect whales in the Santa Barbara Channel region is expanding to the San Francisco Bay area next month.
Starting July 1, the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District’s vessel speed reduction (VSR) voluntary incentive program will for the first time include the San Francisco area. The 2017 program begins July 1 and will continue until Nov. 15. Enrollment of ships in the program is underway and continues through June 30.
Under the VSR program, ships transiting a designated area earn incentives by slowing down to a designated speed in order to reduce emissions. Last year in the Santa Barbara Channel region, 50 ship transits were slowed to 12 knots or under, thereby reducing more than 25 tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and more than 1,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases, according to the Air Pollution Control District.
Ten global shipping companies participated in the 2016 program: CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hamburg Sud, Hapag-Lloyd, Holland, “K” Line, Maersk, MOL, NYK Line and Yang Ming. Over 90 percent of the companies contacted by the program indicated interest in also participating in a Bay Area program in the future, the Air Pollution Control District has indicated.
“We are excited to welcome new partners and expand this program along the California coast,” said Aeron Arlin Genet, air pollution control officer at the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District.
For 2017, the incentive program will have a maximum possible incentive of $2,500 for transits that slow to 10 knots in both regions in a single trip. More than $185,000 in funding is planned to incentivize slow-speed transits for 2017, with the potential to more than double the number of slow-speed transits over 2016 levels, according to the Air Pollution Control District.
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Source: Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District