Today EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz joined Port of Houston Authority Chairman James Edwards and Chief Executive Officer Alec Dreyer to see first-hand their many environmental
With next week’s arrival of an ocean-going cargo vessel at the Port of
Houston Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency will conclude the
data-gathering phase of a study on using lower sulfur marine fuels to
reduce air pollution in the Gulf of Mexico. The study will collect stack
emissions monitoring data before, after and during the use of lower
sulfur fuels on the vessel.
“This is the first time EPA will have emissions data gathered directly
from a commercial cargo ship operating in the Gulf of Mexico,” said
Michelle DePass, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of
International and Tribal Affairs. “Policy makers in the U.S. and Mexico
will soon have Gulf-specific emissions data to show reductions achieved
from burning lower-sulfur fuels near land in U.S. and Mexican waters.
This showcases a practice that will help the international shipping
industry meet forthcoming standards.”
Beginning in August 2012, stringent international standards will require
that lower sulfur fuels be used by ships operating within up to 200
nautical miles of the majority of the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic and
Pacific coastal waters, as well as the U.S. Gulf Coast.
EPA expects these international standards to bring important benefits
for human health through combustion of significantly lower sulfur fuels.
Atmospheric reactions convert sulfur dioxide emissions, a byproduct of
burning fossil fuels, to sulfate particles, which are a significant
threat to public health and marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
“By 2020, EPA estimates that tougher standards on diesel-powered ocean
vessels will prevent 14,000 premature deaths and help relieve
respiratory symptoms for nearly five million people each year in the
United States and Canada”, said Gina McCarthy, EPA assistant
administrator for Air and Radiation. “In the U.S. alone, they will
provide more than $110 billion in health-related benefits by 2020.”
“The Port of Houston Authority is proud of its support and financial
contributions to this important EPA study,” said Charlie Jenkins, vice
president of strategic planning for the Port of Houston Authority. “The
collection of emissions data from the Hamburg Süd vessel will be an
important step to demonstrate fuel switching and show its emission
reduction potential for all ocean-going vessels traveling the Gulf of
“The Port of Houston Authority has continued to show leadership in
reducing diesel air pollution from its on-site operation and truck
traffic to and from its shipping terminals,” said EPA Regional
Administrator Al Armendariz. “Their leadership in collecting much needed
scientific data on the actual emissions from cargo ships is invaluable
and demonstrates their commitment to ‘greening’ Port operations across
The study is the result of a partnership between the EPA, the Port of
Houston Authority, the Mexican federal government and Hamburg Süd, a
German-based shipping company. Additionally, ICF International and the
University of California-Riverside are managing the technical elements
of the program, including the emission measurements.
“We at Hamburg Süd are proud to help pioneer a new era of responsible
marine environmental stewardship,” said Rainer Dehe, Director
Operations, Hamburg Süd North America, Inc.
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