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Court Rejects California’s Limits On Ship Emissions

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The 9th Circuit reinstated an injunction barring California from regulating sulfur emissions from ships that enter the state's waters without first receiving approval from the federal government. The court barred the state Air Resources Board from enforcing Marine Vessel Rules requiring ships to use low-sulfur fuel instead on auxiliary diesel engines within 24 miles of the California coast.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, a group of companies that owns ships subject to the rules, argued that the regulations are invalid, because the federal Clean Air Act and the Submerged Lands Act require the board to receive approval from the Environmental Protection Agency before it can enforce state emissions regulations.

The appeals court agreed that the rules are pre-empted by federal law, and voted unanimously to reinstate an injunction against enforcement of the Marine Vessel Rules.

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