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Alaska sues to block low-sulfur fuel requirement for ships | Reuters CRAZY FOOLS

Alaska sues to block low-sulfur fuel requirement for ships

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska | Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:30am IST

(Reuters) – The state of Alaska sued the Obama administration on Friday
to block environmental regulations that would require ships sailing in
southern Alaska waters to use low-sulfur fuel.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, challenges the
new federal regulations, which require the use of low-sulfur fuel for
large marine vessels such as cargo and cruise ships.

The rule is scheduled to be enforced starting on August 1 by the
Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard for ships
operating within 200 miles of the shores of southeastern and
south-central Alaska, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit faults the EPA, the Department of Homeland Security and
others for using a marine treaty amendment as the basis for the new
federal regulations without waiting for ratification of that amendment
by the U.S. Senate.

The Alaska Department of Law said in a statement that the
low-sulfur-fuel requirement would be costly, jacking up prices for
products shipped by marine vessel and harming Alaska’s cruise industry.

“Alaska relies heavily on maritime traffic, both for goods shipped to
and from the state, and for the cruise ship passengers who support
thousands of Alaskan jobs,” Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty
said in a statement.

“There are reasonable and equally effective alternatives for the
Secretary and the EPA to consider which would still protect the
environment but dramatically reduce the severe impact these regulations
will have on Alaskan jobs and families.”

Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a major shipper operating in Alaska,
estimates that the move to low-sulfur fuel will increase its costs by 8
percent, Geraghty said.

A spokesman for EPA’s Seattle regional office was not immediately
available to comment on the lawsuit.

The treaty amendment at issue is a 2010 agreement under the
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, or
MARPOL. The United States has signed onto MARPOL, and Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton has accepted the 2010 amendment.

Domestic enforcement of the amendment is not permitted without
ratification by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, Assistant Alaska Attorney
General Seth Beausang said. He said the EPA also erred by failing to
conduct an environmental analysis.

“The only thing they relied on was the treaty amendment in issuing the
regulations,” he told Reuters, adding that Alaska was not coordinating
its effort to overturn the regulations with any other state.

The lawsuit names as defendants the EPA and its director, Lisa Jackson,
the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the
Coast Guard and its commandant, Admiral Robert Papp, and Clinton.

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