18 September 2020

California Proposes Revisions To Regulation Of Air Emissions From "Ships At Berth;" Upcoming Public Hearing Scheduled For Late August

The California Air Resources Board ("CARB") has again proposed revisions to the State's existing "Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth Regulation"
United States Environment
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The California Air Resources Board ("CARB") has again proposed revisions to the State's existing "Ocean-Going Vessels At-Berth Regulation" of air emissions from ships docked in California. As revised, further reductions in air emissions will be required, but some of the earlier implementation dates have been extended.

Most substantive changes were made in response to feedback received from CARB's Board during the June 25, 2020 Board Meeting, public comments received during the formal comment period for the "15-Day Changes" that began March 26, 2020 and ended May 1, 2020, and internal feedback from CARB legal and enforcement staff.

A summary of the proposed Second 15-Day Changes and impact on costs follows:

Delayed implementation schedule

  • Emissions control requirements for container, reefer and cruise vessels will now begin January 1, 2023 instead of 2021. In 2023, the control requirements will include all container, reefer and cruise vessels that visit terminals in California that are above the low activity threshold.
  • Roll -on/roll-off ("ro-ro") vessel requirements begin in 2025 instead of 2024 as proposed in the 15-Day Changes.

The result of these changes is fewer emissions reductions in earlier years as some visits are controlled later. This change results in lower costs for vessel and terminal operators from 2021 through 2032.  Such costs were a major stakeholder concern due to COVID-19 related economic impacts.

Updated Terminal Incident Event ("TIE|") and Vessel Incident Event ("VIE") provisions

  • There were no changes made to the percentage of TIEs and VIEs granted for each vessel fleet or terminal. However, TIEs and VIEs will begin in 2023 to align with the first year of implementation for the container, reefer and cruise vessels. TIEs are maintained from the 15-Day Changes at 15 percent in 2023 and 2024 and maintained at 5 percent in 2025 and later.
  • ro-ro vessel requirements begin January 1, 2025, with TIEs maintained at 5 percent. VIEs are maintained at 5 percent in 2023 and all years later, for all regulated vessel types.

Port and terminal plan submission dates

  • The due dates for the initial terminal and port plans for container, reefer, and cruise terminals have moved from July 1, 2021 to December 1, 2021 as a result of adjusting the implementation date.
  • The due dates for the revised ro-ro terminal plans were moved back one year to February 1, 2024, to provide the same shift as the implementation date to provide for consistency.

Vessel visit reporting

  • With the change in the first implementation date to 2023, CARB staff propose changing the date from 2021 to 2023 to submit vessel visit information by vessel and terminal operators.

Innovative Concept provision

  • An earlier iteration of the proposed revisions included an "Innovative Concept" provision, which would allow a regulated party to avoid reduction of emissions "at berth" if instead it used lower cost options to reduce an equal or greater amount of emissions in port communities.  CARB staff revised the Innovative Concept provision to be used by tanker terminals receiving less than 40 visits to less than 60 visits. This change increases the estimated number of terminals (by three) that could utilize a lower cost Innovative Concept as their compliance mechanism.

On August 27, 2020, CARB will hold a final public hearing to consider public comments on the above changes, the final regulation order, proposed resolution for the proposed control measure, and next steps in the regulatory process.  The remote Hearing is set to commence at 9:00 a.m., and may continue at 8:30 a.m., August 28, 2020.  More information about the Board Meeting and how to participate can be found here.

This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

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