CARB has heard calls from the boating and fishing industry and some board members agree with the concerns expressed. Then CARB will consider all public comments and hear testimony and could potentially amend the draft regulation depending on the direction of the board, starting in 2022.
CALIFORNIA – On November 19, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) listened to public testimonies from boat owners, anglers, marine life enthusiasts, nonprofits, marine operators and small business owners on the proposed engine emissions regulations to be implemented in 2023, and decided to review the regulations in 2022. No action has been decided and will be reassessed and addressed in 2022 as well.
CARB’s engine regulations invited bipartisan opposition from state legislatures and a coalition of over 60 local, state and national organizations representing small business, tourism, marinas / ports, local agencies, retail , non-profit organizations, boating and sport fishing. In addition, more than 20,000 fishermen signed a petition imploring Governor Gavin Newsom to “Save Our Boats”, which began circulation on September 28.
The petition calls on Newsom to intervene before CARB implements engine emission regulations that, if approved, will devastate small family fishing and whale watching boats.
“The CARB board of directors has heard from boat owners that the proposed regulations are economically and structurally unfeasible for their family operations,” Ken Franke, president of the Sportfishing Association of California, said in a Nov. 22 press release. . “They also heard from Californians concerned that when boat owners go out of business, they will be denied access to deep-sea fishing and marine life, which will have economic consequences for their coastal economies.
Several board members acknowledged their mutual concerns about the testimonials, recognizing that boat owners are family businesses and that feasibility, time and accessibility are all changes and regulations that need to be addressed in a business that allows these affected people to succeed. .
“We are encouraged by the fact that some members of the board of directors recognize that passenger ships are family businesses, providing a valuable service to their community and that they deserve to be protected,” Franke said in the statement. Press. “Boat owners have been reengineering for years to reduce engine emissions and we remain committed to the environment. We just have to find a reasonable solution that does not require the boats to be taken out of the water. “
CARB’s board is expected to review the proposed regulation in early 2022; however, the extent of revisions to the draft regulations has not yet been addressed.
“We just don’t know how much the current project will change, if at all,” according to an anonymous source. “If the current draft is changed, the new draft will likely be resubmitted for public comment before returning to council for a vote. We understand that if the changes are modest, the public comment period could be short and if it is substantial, the changes would circulate publicly for a period of 45 days (like last time). We believe the next hearing will be in the first quarter of next year, but that’s just speculation at the moment. The CARB website has no updates.
An important factor weighing against the regulations proposed by CARB is that these proposed emission regulations have never been tested elsewhere in the country. CARB recognizes that the engines are infeasible as they would require the decommissioning of commercial passenger sport fishing and whale watching vessels.
In the press release sent by the Sportfishing Association of California (SAC), David Quiros, director of the cargo technologies section at the Air Resources Board, told the Los Angeles Times that he believed the majority, if not the All of the sport-fishing boats, will need to be replaced to comply with the proposed regulations.
The council, charged with protecting public health by cleaner air in California, first passed regulations for commercial pleasure craft in 2007, changed them again in 2010, and is doing it again now. CARB drafted a regulatory change in December 2018, when they held a workshop on starting a feasibility study with Cal Maritime Academy and distributed surveys to owner-operators. The draft plan has raised concerns in several divisions of the fishing and boating industry, but CARB continues to review the plans as they move towards its future solidification.
The United States Coast Guard is responsible for regulating passenger ships and has yet to approve the installation of the new engines. The proposed technology would transform boat engines into a Tier 4 engine, a model that has only been used on semi-trailers and farm equipment. However, Level 4 engines are known to overheat, stall, and catch fire, an unfortunate situation that is more manageable on land than in water.
As a maneuver against CARB in their long-standing battle, SAC has released an economic analysis that undermines CARB’s claim that it is economically feasible for boat owners to replace their vessels entirely. Many boats are built of fiberglass or wood, and since Tier 4 engines heat up more, the ships would have to be made of steel, which would necessitate the purchase of new ships. As a result, the regulations provide for 174 sport fishing and whale watching boats to be removed from the sea.
The analysis revealed unintended consequences for the economy, fisheries and state conservation programs and the significant drop in participation rates in the fishery. The hardest hit communities are expected to be low income ones.