Some New Year's relief from California's anti-pollution Big Brother
But while CARB gives, it also takes away
Some Happy New Year sentiments from the California Air Resources Board. For once, the bureaucrats and desk occupiers are actually listening to the industry.
The shorepower at-berth regulations are allowing some leeway (“good faith” in CARB terms) for vessels and operators unable to comply with the rules, which come into force from January 1, through no fault of their own. "The overall goal of this action is to recognize good faith compliance efforts while ensuring that emissions reductions required by the Regulation are achieved in a timely manner to provide critical public health benefits for communities near ports."
Amazingly, CARB says there will be no penalties if a berth does not have shorepower – many people were half-expecting some fee, not only for the vessel but also for the port.
Of course there is the usual sting in the tail. “Staff is (sic) aware of other challenges to fleet compliance, such as labor issues and the need to contract for charter vessels that are equipped to use shorepower, but does not believe these merit similar accommodation. “ In other words, if the unions start causing trouble, you’re on your own. At least, that is one interpretation of this, as expected, confusing statement. A clearer explanation is needed but, as usual, CARB will be reluctant to say anything.
But back to the “good faith”. Vessel calls at berths without cold ironing (shorepower) facilities will count towards the minimum 50 percent use of cold ironing for the year, i.e. the clock will tick for each of those visits. (Of course, terminals and ports that don’t provide the facilities are liable for penalties themselves. The Big Brother scenario is well and truly alive.)
If auxiliary engines operate longer than the three hour maximum during the first call, and first call only, there probably won’t be a penalty. There’s also allowance for the auxiliaries going over the five hour/ three hour maximum use during the first and second quarters of 2014. No allowance for the third and fourth quarters.
And what CARB gives with one hand it takes away with the other. A nod is given to ships using or testing other methods of cold ironing, by awarding “provisional credits”. Then the gift is taken back. “However, if the alternative technology does not successfully demonstrate the required performance during the in-use testing process by June 30, 2014, the provisional credit for emission reductions will be cancelled … and the fleet will be required to make up the emission reductions required under the Regulation since January 1, 2014.”
At all costs, the agency must avoid giving too much leeway to the industry. It must be remembered that CARB is not there to help. Just the opposite.