Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 11:16 pm | Fair 62º


Carbajal Sponsors National Resolution to Reduce Offshore Emissions

The National Association of Counties adopts the resolution and will urge Congress to introduce similar legislation

The National Association of Counties last week unanimously adopted a resolution sponsored by Santa Barbara County 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal to improve air quality and reduce air pollution emissions from ocean-going vessels traveling offshore, including the county’s coastline. The resolution was adopted July 28 at NACo’s national conference.

NACo now will advocate that the U.S. Congress introduce legislation based on the nationally adopted resolution that would direct the federal government to pursue a variety of strategies to control offshore air pollution. In addition, NACo will begin working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt and enforce regulations on marine vessels as part of the federal Clean Air Act.

“Ocean-going ships are a major source of uncontrolled toxic emissions that contribute to both local air pollution and worldwide greenhouse gases, including nitrogen oxides, diesel particulate matter, sulfur and other airborne toxics,” Carbajal said. “These emissions represent a serious threat to our air quality and public health and must be stopped.”

Additionally, the resolution requests that the federal government work with the International Maritime Organization to designate portions of coastal waters as emission control areas. Such a designation would require stringent new standards to control harmful exhaust emissions from ship engines.

Ocean-going vessel engines tend to burn the dirtiest fuel available and have been largely unregulated in the past. Coastal regions are affected when emissions from these ships blow inland. In addition, the ships’ emissions are a significant source of toxic air pollution exposure in urban areas near ports.

In Santa Barbara County, ships traveling the Santa Barbara Channel produce about 50 percent of the nitrogen oxide (a smog-forming pollutant) emitted in the county. In 2005, marine vessels made 7,086 trips along the 130 miles of coastline of Santa Barbara, producing nearly 15,000 tons of nitrogen oxide. If left uncontrolled, these ships may contribute up to 75 percent of the county’s NOx pollution by the year 2020, according to the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District.

In addition to working on the national level, Carbajal helped lead the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to include the issue of emissions from marine vessels as part of its adopted 2009 legislative platform.

At the NACo conference, Carbajal also became the elected chairman of the Air Quality Subcommittee for NACo’s Energy, Environment and Land Use Committee.

— William Boyer is the communications director for Santa Barbara County.


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