Photo courtesy Bob McClean

The Environmental Protection Agency gave the lobster industry a break when they delayed new clean-air standards for some marine diesel engines.

The E.P.A. recently adopted exhaust emission standards for marine diesel engines of varied size and application. The new domestic emission standards would apply for engines installed on all U.S. vessels. The Association recently proposed to amend the national marine diesel engine program to provide relief provisions to address concerns associated with Tier IV marine diesels, which are often used for commercial fishing. In the meantime, the E.P.A. delayed imposing the new standards with the hopes of adding this proposal.

According to reporting done by the Associated Press, Maine’s congressional delegation says there are no diesel engines that meet the Tier IV standard that can fit safely on lobster boats, which are often small and have in-board engines. As a result, immediate imposition of the new regulations would leave lobster fishermen scrambling for equipment, further delaying and shrinking the already late, small season.

By delaying the clean-air standards, the E.P.A. allows lobster fishermen to continue using their equipment while the industry continues to work toward cleaner diesel engines. In a joint statement, the congressional delegation said the delay was a “commonsense solution that supports Main boat builders and lobstermen.”

A new proposal from the E.P.A. also includes waiver provisions to allow for continued installation of Tier III engines for some vessels if Tier IV engines continue to be unavailable.

A public hearing related to the new proposal is scheduled for late September in Bath, Maine. Likely, the new regulations will go into effect shortly thereafter.