The United States and Canada plan to establish new air pollution control zones for ports along their coasts to force domestic and foreign ships alike to curb emissions linked to thousands of illnesses and premature deaths each year.
The restrictions announced yesterday, which the Environmental Protection Agency outlined in a request Friday to the International Maritime Organization, would require tankers, cruise ships, cargo ships and other large vessels to use low-sulfur fuel or new technology to ensure that they emit less sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and soot while within 200 nautical miles of the lower 48 states. The rules also would apply to Anchorage as well as the seven populated Hawaiian islands and the uninhabited Kahoolawe nature preserve.
The EPA said the "emissions control area" would save as many as 8,300 American and Canadian lives every year by 2020 and protect Americans living as far inland as Kansas. A report by a coalition of groups including the American Lung Association, the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Association of Clean Air Agencies and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency said that more than 87 million Americans live in port areas that do not meet federal air quality standards. The proposed rules would apply to Baltimore and to Virginia's Newport News-Norfolk harbors, among others.