New S.F. Bay Ferry Will Pollute More Than Necessary

New S.F. Bay Ferry Will Pollute More Than Necessary

For Immediate Release

Ferry engine will beat current EPA air pollution standards by 20 percent, but far greater emissions cuts were possible

SAN FRANCISCO—On Friday the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s Board of Directors approved a recommendation to use engines 20 percent cleaner than required by law, as well as experiment with biodiesel, for its new high-speed ferry. The decision, however, does not reach the high environmental bar set by a regional ferry operator three years ago.

“The engine proposal was not as environmentally sound as it could have been, but we will continue to work with staff to integrate the use of emission control technology and sustainable biodiesel to increase emission reductions,” said John Kaltenstein, Clean Vessels Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “There is a real need to do more to reduce toxic soot and smog-forming emissions to safeguard public health and the environment.”

The new ferry engines are required to comply with modest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tier 2 engine standards. New California Air Resources Board standards requiring the best available control technology for new ferries do not take effect until 2009 and do not currently apply. According to studies, ferry travel that meets the current EPA standards emits far more pollution than comparable car travel per-person-mile.

At a district board meeting in 2007, Friends of the Earth asked for the high-speed ferry standards to equal to those that apply to the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority—the WTA’s standards are 85 percent cleaner than the EPA’s Tier 2 standards.

Golden Gate Ferry Division staff did not recommend the 85 percent cleaner option because the selective catalytic reduction after-treatment technology that would likely be required by the standards had previously performed improperly in another local ferry and because this option also had higher capital and operating costs than the option that was selected.

The district staff report can be found at

For more information contact:
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
John Kaltenstein, 415-544-0790 ext. 21


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