Claiming that the extension of the ECA (Emission Control Area) to Alaska is unlawful, the State of Alaska has filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, in order to prevent the ECA from being implemented in Alaska.
The first stage of the ECA is set to go into effect Aug. 1, 2012, with the second and stricter stage going into effect 2015, requiring low sulfur fuel up to 200 miles out from the U.S. and Canadian coastlines.
The suit claims that the extension of the ECA to Alaska was unlawful because two-thirds of the U.S. Senate did not consent to the extension as it said is required by the U.S. constitution.
Alaska said it has compelling economic and environmental interests in the management and regulation of marine vessel air emissions within its jurisdiction and areas extending 200 miles out. The suit said that increased regulations and restrictions will increase the cost of bringing goods to Alaska and will also harm the tourism industry.
The suit stated that the ECA’s low sulfur fuel requirements will increase shipping costs to Alaska by 8 percent, which will be passed on to consumers. Citing a cruise industry estimate, cruise passengers will have to pay $12 to $16 more per day, adding approximately $86 to $112 to the price of a seven-day cruise. Another estimate puts the cost higher at $15 to $18 per passenger day. Increased costs translate into decreased cruise ship visitors, according to the suit, which concludes that enforcement of the ECA will have a significant and harmful effect on Alaska’s citizens and economy.