|County Commissioner and County Attorney get on board with video message |
Houston – Local officials are petitioning the International Maritime Organization, which meets March 22-26, 2010 in London , England , to accept the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s application to establish more stringent fuel and engine standards for large ships creating 200-mile-wide buffer zones along the US-Canada coastlines.
The Port of Houston is the largest port in the United States in foreign tonnage. Harris County , the third largest county in the nation with a population of more than 4 million people, is home to the Port of Houston as well as the 50-mile Ship Channel that brings heavy maritime traffic into an industrialized and populous area. The ships contribute to the urban area’s significant and well-documented air quality issues.
Concerned about quality-of-life issues, the four county commissioners and the county judge, comprising the county’s governing body known as Commissioners’ Court, have adopted a resolution urging IMO acceptance of the EPA request. The Port of Houston Authority and the City of Houston also have submitted letters of support.
In partnership with the Port Authority, County Attorney Vince Ryan and Commissioner Sylvia Garcia plead the case for clean air in a video available at http://www.youtube.com/harriscountyattorney.
“With ever-increasing marine traffic, taking strong steps to slash ship pollution is absolutely essential for our region and on the quality of air we breathe,” Ryan states.
According to the EPA, the standards sought by the United States “will cut sulfur in fuel by 98 percent, particulate matter emissions by 85 percent, and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent from the current global requirements.” [EPA Press release, 9/30/2009]. The federal agency says these types of reductions nationwide will help reduce illnesses and premature death.
For further information, video clips or for interviews with County Attorney , Vince Ryan:
Contact: Terence O’Rourke, First Assistant Harris County Attorney at