The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed an amendment to the national marine diesel engine program to provide relief to boat builders and manufacturers of lightweight and high-power marine diesel engines that are used in high-speed commercial vessels such as lobster fishing boats and pilot boats.
"This proposal will provide boat builders the flexibility they need to meet EPA standards while they continue to manufacture products that are critical to marine industries," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "This action reflects our mindset that environmental progress is best achieved by working with states and the regulated community to advance sound and attainable regulatory solutions."
"Due to the unique design of Maine lobster boats, at this time there are not Tier 4-compliant diesel engines available on the market that can safely fit in these types of vessels. This delay in the implementation of the Tier 4 emission standards for commercial lobster-style boats should provide engine manufacturers time to design and certify engines that will both comply with Tier 4 emission standards and work safely and efficiently in these boats.
"It also prevents lobstermen from being burdened by requirements that are impossible to meet with the currently available technology," said U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden in a joint statement. "We are pleased to have worked together with the EPA to find a commonsense solution that supports Maine boat builders and lobstermen."
The EPA's proposal will help boat builders whose production capabilities have been impacted by a lack of certified engines available with the desired size and power characteristics. The proposal will provide additional lead time to meet the agency's Tier 4 standards for qualifying engines and vessels and includes a new waiver process, which would allow for continued installation of Tier 3 engines for certain vessels if suitable Tier 4 engines continue to be unavailable. The proposal also includes changes to streamline the engine certification process to promote certification of engines with high power density.
This rule also includes a proposed technical correction to the national marine diesel fuel program. This change will clarify that fuel manufacturers and distributors may sell distillate diesel fuel that meets the 2020 global sulfur standard adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The proposed correction will help U.S. fuel manufacturers and distributors to meet the IMO standard on time and without creating additional burdens for the industry.