Friday, September 28, 2012

Calif. Gov. Vetoes Shore Power Bill

California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that would have required the state Air Resources Board to reimburse 90 percent of project costs of certain shore power electrification projects. In its place, he issued an executive order mandating the ARB amend its program guidelines.

Senate Bill 234, which was returned without the governor’s signature Sept. 25, would have mandated that each port pay the retrofit costs upfront and then the state would reimburse funds on a quarterly basis. But in a statement explaining his veto, Brown said the legislation would have circumvented accountability standards.

“Allowing only a 10 percent withholding does not afford the necessary insurance that the state’s seaports have the commitment and resources necessary to see the project to completion,” he wrote.

The statement goes on to say that Brown has directed the Air Resources Board to amend its program guidelines to allow quarterly reimbursement of up to 80 percent of eligible costs under certain circumstances.

“We all share the goal of providing shore-side electrical power to ships at berth in order to reduce harmful emissions at and near the ports,” the governor wrote. “This is a solvable problem.”

Shore side power systems are being developed to comply with new California regulations requiring that ships anchored at ports throughout the state turn off their engines to limit emissions. Vessels will be required plug into equipment at the marine terminals, allowing them to shut down their diesel engines and reduce harmful air emissions.

In 2007, the ARB approved regulations mandating a reduction in emissions from diesel auxiliary engines on container, passenger and refrigerated cargo ships anchored at California ports. Under the rules, emissions must be reduced by 80 percent by 2020.