EPA signs major regulatory rule

CHICAGO – The Environmental Protection Agency signed a proposed rule Tuesday that, once finalized, would result in the largest regulatory action in recreational marine industry history, the National Marina Manufacturers Association said in a press release Wednesday.

The EPA rule, titled “Control of Emissions from Non-Road Spark Ignition Engines and Equipment,” impacts boatbuilders, gasoline engine manufacturers (both outboard and inboard/sterndrive) and marine generator manufacturers. NMMA is encouraging its members to submit comments to the EPA on its proposal by the Aug. 3 deadline.

The effects of EPA’s latest proposal are two-fold, requiring spark ignited (gas) marine engine manufacturers to meet new emission standards beginning in 2009 and boatbuilders to reduce evaporative emissions from boat fuel systems. Under the proposal, outboard and PWC engines will have to be certified to the same exhaust emission standards as the California Air Resources Board will require in 2008.

For sterndrive and inboard engines, the EPA rule proposes catalyst-based exhaust emission standards apply beginning in 2009. Boatbuilders will be required to change their fuel systems with requirements for fuel hose, plastic fuel tanks and controlling emissions from the fuel tank vent.

“This is by far the most comprehensive rulemaking ever imposed on the recreational marine industry,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “It’s not just an engine rule; this proposal directly affects boatbuilders as well as engine manufacturers and will change the way builders design a boat’s fuel system. The entire industry needs to be aware of this ruling and prepare to meet all necessary requirements under the new EPA guidelines.”

The rulemaking culminates nearly a decade of NMMA and industry-wide efforts to work with EPA on several data collection projects related specifically to evaporative emissions and engine emissions.

“[The] industry works closely with government agencies like EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard to create these regulations, which provide cleaner air, improved fuel economy and allow for the creation and development of new products for our customers” said Chuck Rowe, NMMA chairman and Indmar Products Co. Inc. president.

A public hearing has been scheduled for June 5 in Reston, Va. Members of the NMMA Evaporative Emission Task Force and the Engine Manufacturers Division will convene May 14 to 16 to prepare for the hearing.

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