As of last week, the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for dragging its feet on enacting new rules on how much pollution can be emitted by cargo ships steaming through the Santa Barbara Channel. According APCD chief Terry Dressler, the EPA failed to live up to its commitment to generate new clean air rules by 2007, postponing the date issue until 2009. Dressler said the nitrous oxide emissions now generated by the cargo ships in the channel, though ten miles offshore, exceeds that of all the cars, trucks, and buses now on Santa Barbara streets and roads. That problem will only get worse, he warned, because the volume of ship traffic is projected to nearly double over the next 12 years. Because so many of the cargo ships involved are flying under foreign flags, the EPA has argued that it makes better sense for the International Maritime Organization to enact the new air control rules. The APCD officially declared its intent to sue to the EPA back in October.


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