U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Wheeler was in Maine on August 20, announcing the final rule to amend the national marine diesel engine program to delay installing certified Tier 4 marine diesel engines in certain high-speed commercial vessels.
Maine boatbuilders informed the EPA in 2017 that there are no certified Tier 4 engines with suitable performance characteristics for the vessels they need to build, specifically for high-speed commercial vessels that rely on engines with rated power between 600 and 1,400 kW that have high power density. A hearing was held in Bath, Maine, in September 2019.
EPA addressed the concerns of the Maine fishermen and delayed the implementation deadline to 2024 for a single propulsion engine with maximum power output up to 1,000 kW and power density of at least 35.0 kW per liter displacement, where the vessel is made with a nonmetal hull and has a maximum length of 50 feet.
There is also a waiver provision that can be used, if necessary, after 2024, for the Tier 4 standards should suitable engines continue to be unavailable. EPA is also modifying the marine diesel engine certification program by streamlining engine certification requirements.
In 2009, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection established the nation’s first statewide marine engine repower program to replace highly-emitting unregulated marine engines with cleaner new EPA Tier 3 certified engines.
The Maine Clean Marine Engine Program to date has awarded $5.2 million from the Diesel Emission Reduction Act to repower 152 commercial vessels, the majority of which are lobster boats, and include research vessels, schooners, whale watching, and excursion vessels, and tugboats.
Since 2009 the program administered a successful partnership with Maine Marine Trades Association. This program has numerous benefits, including a 45% reduction in NOx of 74.85 tons/year and economic stimulus in rural communities by potentially creating and retaining jobs for engine distributors, dealers, boatyards, fishers, and their co-ops.