February 28, 2008
Court blocks California marine fuel rule
The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco yesterday barred California's Air Resources Board from enforcing a rule that requires ships to use low-sulfur fuel in auxiliary diesel engines within 24 miles of the coast.
"The restrictions took effect in January 2007 but were blocked in August by a federal judge, who said California needed approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before enforcing clean-air standards," reports the San Francisco Chronicle. "The appeals court allowed the limits to go back into effect in October, but the three-judge panel ruled Wednesday that the low-sulfur requirements are standards that require EPA approval."
The ruling came in a suit by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, whose members have been complying voluntarily with the state restrictions since they took effect. Some will probably continue to use low-sulfur fuel even though it costs more than bunker fuel, the San Francisco Chronicle reports John McLaurin, the association's president, as saying.