World Bulletin/News Desk
The state of Alaska sued the Obama administration on Friday to block environmental regulations that would require ships sailing in southern Alaska waters to use low-sulfur fuel.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, challenges the new federal regulations, which require the use of low-sulfur fuel for large marine vessels such as cargo and cruise ships.
The rule is scheduled to be enforced starting on Aug. 1 by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard for ships operating within 200 miles (322 kilometres) of the shores of southeastern and south-central Alaska, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit faults the EPA, the Department of Homeland Security and others for using a marine treaty amendment as the basis for the new federal regulations without waiting for ratification of that amendment by the U.S. Senate.
The Alaska Department of Law said in a statement that the low-sulfur-fuel requirement would be costly, jacking up prices for products shipped by marine vessel and harming Alaska's cruise industry.
"Alaska relies heavily on maritime traffic, both for goods shipped to and from the state, and for the cruise ship passengers who support thousands of Alaskan jobs," Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty said in a statement.
"There are reasonable and equally effective alternatives for the Secretary and the EPA to consider which would still protect the environment but dramatically reduce the severe impact these regulations will have on Alaskan jobs and families."
Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a major shipper operating in Alaska, estimates that the move to low-sulfur fuel will increase its costs by 8 percent, Geraghty said.
A spokesman for EPA's Seattle regional office was not immediately available to comment on the lawsuit.
The treaty amendment at issue is a 2010 agreement under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, or MARPOL. The United States has signed onto MARPOL, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accepted the 2010 amendment.
Domestic enforcement of the amendment is not permitted without ratification by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, Assistant Alaska Attorney General Seth Beausang said. He said the EPA also erred by failing to conduct an environmental analysis.
"The only thing they relied on was the treaty amendment in issuing the regulations," he told Reuters, adding that Alaska was not coordinating its effort to overturn the regulations with any other state.
The lawsuit names as defendants the EPA and its director, Lisa Jackson, the Department of Homeland Security and Secretary Janet Napolitano, the Coast Guard and its commandant, Admiral Robert Papp, and Clinton.
EU leaders agreed last week to increase sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, citing devastating attacks on Syria's second city of Aleppo.
"I strongly believe it is absolutely possible to strengthen European defence without duplicating efforts by NATO," alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg said.
12 people were killed Tuesday after al-Shabaab militants carried out attack in Mandera near Kenyan-Somali border
Head of Kurdish Regional Government says ‘only Iraqi counter-terrorism forces’ will enter Mosul once ISIL is defeated
25 militants killed in western Anbar province while another 5 are killed near Kirkuk, local military sources say
Jobless rate drops below 20 percent for first time in 6 years, despite Spain lacking agreed government for last 10 months
The airlines, owned by flag carrier Lufthansa, are locked in disputes with the Ufo flight attendants union.
Stoltenberg said NATO had just launched its own Operation Sea Guardian in the Mediterranean to help support Operation Sophia.
Belgium has effectively blocked the deal, which must be endorsed by all 28 EU member states.
No casualties reported from quake, which was felt as far away as Rome
The incident takes place Tuesday in Qalqilya, northern West bank
Consultative meetings also due next week on forming a government of reconciliation in Libya
'There are no more migrants in the camp.' says Pas-de-Calais prefect Fabienne Buccio
At least 3,800 people have died, making 2016 the deadliest ever, says UNHCR spokesman
In Kenya, Rockefeller Foundation panel says 1/3 of food never makes if from farm to table
Iraqi army, meanwhile, captures strategic oilfield northeast of ISIL-held city