New federal air-pollution restrictions will affect cruise and some other vessels sailing Alaska waters.
But they will not impact state ferries.
“It is a big issue for the state of Alaska, it is not necessarily a big issue for the Alaska Marine Highway System. All of our ships operating within 200 miles of the coastline already burn low-sulfur fuel,” says Captain Mike Neussl, the state’s deputy commissioner of marine transportation.
State ferries made the switch a number of years ago, before Neussl came on board.
The new air-emission limits come from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. They apply to what are called Emission Control Areas, or ECAs, within 200 miles of the coastline.
Officials say they’re part of an international effort to lower pollution that contributes to human illnesses and deaths.
Neussl says the required fuel is already available at ferry ports.
“The suppliers there already carry ultra-low sulfur diesel because that’s what they have and that’s what we use. So it wasn’t a big switch, and the switch that the marine highways made wasn’t in direct response to this upcoming implementation of the ECA,” he says.
The new rules go into effect Wednesday, August 1st
- The 750-mile Race to Alaska is back for a second year as 43 teams of sailors, rowers and paddlers prepared to set off from Port Townsend, Washington at 6 a.m. on Thursday.
- Hydrokinetic technology developed in Alaska’s rigorous conditions will help researchers design systems that can be used worldwide.
- Ketchikan’s Britta Adams braved the cold ocean and strong tides recently to swim more than 10 miles of the rocky Wrangell Narrows.
- As stock markets suffer, Alaskans consider UK referendum vote impacts.