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U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
For Immediate Release
July 22nd, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President George W. Bush yesterday signed into law H.R. 802, the Maritime Pollution Prevention Act (MARPOL Annex VI). Reported by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with an amendment sponsored by Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Vice Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), H.R. 802 would require the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prescribe regulations to implement vessel air emission standards and requirements that are outlined under Annex VI to the MARPOL Convention.

The MARPOL Convention is the global agreement to control pollution from ships. MARPOL Annex VI regulates the emission into the atmosphere of specified pollutants from ships.

“By enacting MARPOL Annex VI, the United States continues to lead the way in reducing air pollution from ships,” said Senator Inouye. “We now have the authority to inspect party and non-party vessels, consistent with the other marine annexes.  In addition, as we look forward to the next round of treaty negotiations in October, the United States will again be well-positioned to continue to press for higher standards and better pollution controls from ships operating in our waters.”

As enacted, H.R. 802 would:

·         Require the EPA to promulgate regulations to establish standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), and volatile organic compounds and quality standards for vessel fuel oil in consultation with the Coast Guard.

·         Require U.S.-flag vessels and foreign vessels that are operating in the territorial sea, in emission control areas, and in areas designated by the Administrator, in consultation with the Coast Guard, to comply with vessel air emission regulations that are issued by the Coast Guard and the EPA. These requirements also would give the Coast Guard the authority to apply Annex VI to party and non-party vessels in the U.S. EEZ in the same manner as the other marine-related Annexes apply to non-party vessels.

·         Ensure that the authority to enforce Annex VI would not restrict the freedom of navigation in a country’s EEZ, the right of passage through the territorial sea, or the right of transit passage though straits used for international navigation.

·         Apply vessel air emission standards only to vessels with NOx marine engines rated above 130 kilowatts, or 175 horsepower.

·         Prohibit any person other than the Administrator of the EPA from issuing an Engine International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate on behalf of the United States and require that such certificates are issued consistently with regulations and requirements under the Clean Air Act. 

·         Require each vessel greater than 400 gross tons and each offshore terminal to be issued an International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate to certify that the vessel’s or terminal’s equipment is in compliance with all applicable requirements under MARPOL Annex VI, and an Engine International Air Pollution Prevention Certificate to certify that each engine or engine group is in compliance with NOx standards. 

·         Require the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating or the EPA Administrator to prescribe regulations that require ports and terminals to provide or ensure the availability of adequate reception facilities for ozone depleting substances, equipment containing such substances, and exhaust cleaning residues. This section also would authorize the Coast Guard to deny a vessel entry into a port or terminal that, in the Coast Guard’s determination, is not in compliance with those regulations.