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.
Armenia says it would debate a law that would recognise Karabakh as an independent country
UN mission was established in 1991, after brokered ceasefire between Morocco and Polisario Front
Earlier this week, Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, launched offensive to regain control of Fallujah
Aleksandar Vucic's is now set to control 131 parliamentary seats -- enough for a majority in the legislature, but 27 seats less than before the April 24 vote
Both HRW and the Norweigan Helsinki Committee have called for the release of four lawyers who have been imprisoned in Tajikistan
Prime Minister Beata Szydło has abolished Poland's Council for the Prevention of Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance amid widespread concern that has been condemned by the opposition
Cricket mad refugees from Pakistan and Afghanistan are using the sport to build bridges between communities in Germany
Terrorist organisations within Syria and Turkey had planned to carry out a number of attacks near Moscow
So far, no casualties have been reported, eyewitnesses say
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees requests $80M from Saudi, UAE and Kuwait to put Palestinian kids through school
Recommendation comes day after police rescue ex-Senator Anisulowo, who was kidnapped in southwestern Ogun State
Country is last in western Balkans to be recommended for travel liberalization
PM Cameron's government says unaccompanied child asylum-seekers 'will be resettled from Greece, Italy and France'
Huseyin Ozgurgun says his government supports reunification talks with Greek Cypriots
'It's going to take more to win. We're gonna win but we all need to do more,' Pentagon chief says