Air Pollution:

Issues Inhibiting Marine Vessel Emission Controls Are Still Unresolved

RCED-89-12: Published: Oct 7, 1988. Publicly Released: Nov 8, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal and state efforts to: (1) control marine vessel emissions; and (2) address vessel safety and interstate commerce issues.

GAO found that: (1) neither the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor the states implemented marine vessel emission controls because the industry, the Coast Guard, and the Maritime Administration raised concerns about their safety, cost, and effects on interstate commerce; (2) vessel operators were concerned about the costs of vapor recovery systems and the possibility that differing requirements would restrict vessel operations in some states; (3) although the Coast Guard and EPA attempted to resolve some of the issues, they discontinued their efforts in 1981 due to EPA budget reductions; (4) the Coast Guard resumed its efforts in 1984 and anticipated issuing safety regulations for vapor recovery systems in 1990; (5) the Coast Guard and Maritime Administration developed a proposal to amend the Clean Air Act to give EPA authority to regulate marine vessel emissions and the Coast Guard authority to establish and enforce safety regulations; and (6) EPA proposed a national ozone strategy to provide support for the states in controlling emissions from various sources.

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