Landmark Clean Air Rules Set for Ships, Thousands of Lives Expected to Be Saved

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

John Kaltenstein, 831-334-2470, jkaltenstein@foe.org

Nick Berning, 202-222-0748, nberning@foe.org

Landmark Clean Air Rules Set for Ships, Thousands of Lives Expected to Be Saved

Friends of the Earth calls new limits on air pollution from ships a major victory—the result of more than ten years of advocacy

LONDON - Today, the
international body
governing the shipping industry approved rules to limit air pollution from
ships in most U.S. and Canadian waters. The rules
are expected to prevent millions of illnesses and 14,000 premature
deaths by
2020.

Friends of the Earth has
spent ten years working to put these
protections in place, beginning with a legal challenge initiated in 2000
to a
U.S. EPA rule that ultimately contributed to today's action. The
environmental
group praised today's move, calling it a major victory.

The rules adopted today
will begin
to take effect in 2012, and by 2015, they will require harmful air
pollution
from ships in a low-pollution zone known as an Emission Control Area to
decline
by 80 percent or more.
Friends of
the Earth
precipitated this extraordinary action not only by its initial legal
challenge
in 2000, but also by successive lawsuits in 2003 and 2007 to force the
EPA to
dramatically

reduce air
pollution
from ships.

Following action by the
EPA, the
U.S. and Canadian governments
submitted a formal application to the International Maritime
Organization (the
body that acted today) in March of 2009 seeking the adoption of this
special
area. As one of only a
handful of environmental
groups with formal
observer status at the IMO, Friends
of the Earth also advocated for passage of this rule there.

The EPA estimates that,
by 2030,
the implementation of these limits on ship air pollution and related
regulations
will prevent up to 31,000 premature deaths, 1.5 million work days lost,
and more
than 5 million cases of acute respiratory symptoms.  Further,
the health benefits could be
worth $270 billion and outweigh costs by a factor of between 30:1 and
90:1,
meaning the rules are likely to be among the most cost-effective
regulatory
endeavors ever undertaken by the EPA. The rules will also have the
effect of
preventing most ships from using dirty bunker fuel while traveling in
protected
U.S. waters.

"Large
ships, including foreign-flagged ships, will no longer be allowed to
wantonly
pollute our air and harm our health," said John Kaltenstein, Marine
Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. "Friends of
the Earth has been working for more than a decade to end deadly and
unregulated
pollution from the shipping industry, one of the last industries to be
brought
under pollution control laws."

This law
will apply to large ships such as container ships, oil tankers, and
large cruise
ships. 

"While much of the shipping

industry-including the World Shipping Council-supported the rules
adopted today,
the cruise industry opposed it, showing once again that its claims of
environmental stewardship and industry leadership are nothing more than
hot
air," Kaltenstein said.

The rules
created today regulate criteria pollution reduction and do not directly
address
greenhouse gas emissions or the severe problem of black carbon
emissions.
Friends of the Earth plans to fight for additional regulations to
address these
threats.

###

Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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