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Release Date: 11/2/94
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AIR POLLUTION FROM MARINE ENGINES TO BE REDUCED Working in cooperation with the marine industry, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed the nation's first emissions standards for reducing exhaust pollution from new gasoline and diesel-powered marine engines. The technology will create a new generation of low-emission, high-performance outboard engines.
Currently there are l2 million marine engines in the United States. Of all categories of non-road engines, marine engines contribute the second highest levels of hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) exhaust emissions, approximately 700,000 tons per year. For non-road sources, only lawn and garden engines emit higher levels of HC according to a l99l EPA study and only farm and construction equipment emit higher levels of NOx.

HC and NOx produce ground-level ozone, which irritates the respiratory track causing chest pain and lung inflammation. Ozone can also aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Mary Nichols, EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, said, "This rule shows that environmental protection and technology advancement can go hand-in-hand. These standards will improve air quality across the nation, protect public health, and result in a new, more efficient generation of marine engines. These advances could not be possible without the expertise and cooperation of the marine engine industry."

Nichols said in addition to being less polluting, the next generation of marine engines is expected to have added benefits of improved performance, easier starting and faster acceleration, better fuel economy, and less noise, odor and smoke. The standards proposed today would apply to all new outboard and personal watercraft engines (such as Jet Skis and Wave Runners). Separate standards are proposed for sterndrive and inboard engines which have some components similar to those used in automobiles and light trucks, but are adapted for marine use. The emission reduction standards, which would be corporate average standards with inter-industry trading allowed, would reduce HC emissions 75 percent.

A cap on carbon monoxide (CO) emissions also is proposed. Agency officials said CO is primarily a wintertime problem and boating is negligible during the winter months in most areas of the country. CO disrupts delivery of oxygen to the body's tissue, affecting primarily the cardiovascular and nervous system.

EPA is also proposing to amend its rules for non-road land-based diesel engines at or above 50 horsepower to include marine diesel engines. These engines are used in commercial vessels and some of the larger pleasure craft. The standards will reduce NOx emissions by 37 percent.

Manufacturers would begin phasing in over a nine-year period the new standards beginning with the 1998 model year. Today's proposed standards will apply only to new technology. Retrofit for older models is not required.

A 1991 EPA study of non-road engines showed that the exhaust from non-road engines such as marine engines, lawn and garden equipment, utility engines, and farm and construction engines is a significant source of ozone and carbon monoxide pollution in many areas of the United States. Non-road engines sources make up 10 percent of the total summertime urban HC emissions and l7 percent of the total summertime urban NOx emissions.

Standards for engines used in lawn and garden equipment were proposed in May. In June, the agency finalized standards for land-based, non-road diesel engines such as those used in construction and farm equipment.

Notice of today's proposed rule will be published soon in the Federal Register. EPA will also hold a public hearing and request comments on the proposal. Copies of the proposed standards can also be obtained from the Agency's Mobile Source Bulletin Board by calling 919-541-5742.

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