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 finance for camp to alleviate conditions for migrants seeking to get to Britain
Sense of chaos has been reflected across Europe as continent struggles to respond to biggest movement of people since World War II
EU commissioner Frans Timmermans says it's against European spirit to refuse refugees
Violent clashes erupt after parliament approves president-proposed Constitutional amendments regarding decentralization of power
'The situation among internally displaced people is particularly worrying', UN aid chief says
Interior ministers of all 28 EU member states expected to meet on September 14 to discuss ways to cope with the refugee crisis
An Israeli soldier attacked a young Palestinian girl and attempted to arrest a Palestinian boy with a broken arm.
Nigerian army Colonel says armed group tarnishes image of Islam
Since the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, countless Crimean Tatar activists have been either killed or kidnapped, while those responsible have never brought to justice.
Operation Sea Breeze, a naval drill between European NATO forces will be holding drills until mid-September.
Report says White Hosue would make a decision soon after President Xi's visit to US next month
Austria is hunting for human traffickers at its eastern borders after last weeks tragedy that saw 70 refugees found dead in the back of a truck in Austria.
A new clause in the constitution will be put to public vote limiting the presidential term to a maximum of two after CAR descended into violence
Fresh battles in eastern Benghazi have claimed the life of four soldiers as government troops and opposition groups vy for control
Following three-day trial, ten convicts are executed Saturday morning by firing squad
Thousands are reportedly driven from their homes amid violent land disputes between rival clans in Kenya’s Rift Valley