September 4, 2007
Clean Air Act preempts CARB air rules
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California has ruled that the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) preempts regulations adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) relating to emissions from ocean-going ships and applying up to 24 nautical miles off the coast.
In its ever-useful Haight's Marine Items, law firm Holland & Knight reports that the court held that the CAA applies to both new and non-new nonroad vehicles (which is how ships are categorized for purposes of this statute) and their engines. The court ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had not granted California authority to adopt and enforce regulations applicable to mobile sources such as ships. Pacific Merchant Shipping Association v. Cackette, No. Civ. S-06-2791 WBS KJM (E.D. Calif., August 30, 2007).
Holland & Knight's Dennis Bryant comments that "the time has come (indeed, it is overdue) for the Congress to adopt legislation implementing MARPOL Annex VI. This will allow the federal regulation of air emissions from all ships in U.S. waters and will allow the U.S. to petition the IMO for designation of SECAs off various portions of the U.S. coast, including off California.