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EPA, Marine Industry Leaders and Long Island Environmentalists Announce Agreement Promoting Cleaner Outboard Engines; Low-Polluting Boat Engines Reduce Air Emissions by 75 Percent

Release Date: 09/04/2003
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(#03100) New York, N.Y. – At a boat showroom in Freeport, Long Island earlier today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny, representatives of the marine industry and Long Island environmentalists announced an agreement to increase the sale of low-polluting outboard motors and personal water craft engines on Long Island in the place of conventional, more polluting engines.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Ms. Kenny, the Association of Marine Industries and the New York Marine Trades Association, the parties will work to ensure that, by 2005, 95 percent of the two and four-stroke marine engines sold on Long Island are low-polluting . The cleaner engines emit 75 percent less air pollution, burn 35 to 50 percent less fuel, use up to 50 percent less oil, and discharge significantly less gasoline directly into the water than conventional engines. Also on hand to voice their support for the agreement were: Kevin McDonald, Chair of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the Peconic Bay Estuary Program; Jeffrey Fullmer, Director of the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Office; Bill Evanzia, Citizens’ Advisory Committee member of the Long Island Sound Study; and Paul Rabinovitch, Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy’s Long Island Chapter.

“From the Sound to the Peconics to Great South Bay, Long Island is a boater’s paradise. This voluntary agreement on the part of the boating industry will help ensure it remains that way,” said EPA’s Jane M. Kenny. “We’re very pleased to say that although EPA regulations will require low-polluting technologies in all of these engines by 2006, our partners today have said ‘Why wait?’ They have truly demonstrated that working together, government and industry can push the environmental envelope.”

New York State Secretary of State Randy A. Daniels said, "As home to the largest concentration of commercial and recreational vessels, marinas and other water-dependent businesses in New York State, the 326-square mile South Shore Estuary Reserve is an active and vibrant area we need to protect. The accelerated sale and use of cleaner vessel engine technology is an important step towards improving the estuary's water quality, a priority objective in implementing the estuary's comprehensive management plan."

Long Island’s 1,180 miles of shoreline provide recreational opportunities for thousands of boaters. Until recently, all outboard boats were powered by conventional two-stroke marine engines. Unfortunately, up to 30% of the gasoline passing through the combustion chambers of such engines is not burned or only partially burned, resulting in emissions of dark smoke containing hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides – chemicals that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone or “smog.” Unburned gasoline is also released directly into the water from such engines, causing the contamination of water bodies with toxic chemicals like benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylene.

“Long Island is blessed with an amazingly productive and healthy marine environment,” said Paul Rabinovitch, Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy’s Long Island Chapter. “The Nature Conservancy has designated Long Island's east end in particular as one of the ‘Global Last Great Places.’ This MOU is an important step towards assuring that our children inherit clean water and a healthy marine system.”

"We look forward to promoting the use of these engines that will be better for the waters we use to boat and fish," stated Wally Werner, President of the NYMTA. “This is another example of the marine industry working with other organizations to improve the quality of boating and life on Long Island."

"The greatest challenge to restoring our bays isn't pollution, it's the willingness to take action,” said Kevin McDonald of the Peconic Estuary Program. “We know that even low levels of pollutants in the environment can affect marine life. By switching to these cleaner burning marine engines, boaters can dramatically reduce their impact on air and water quality while continuing to enjoy the recreational opportunities our coastal resources offer."

In August 1996, EPA established emissions standards for new gasoline outboard engines and personal water craft engines with a goal of reducing hydrocarbon emissions from such engines 75 percent by 2025. The EPA regulations were developed in cooperation with marine engine manufacturers, phasing in increasingly more stringent air emissions requirements for the engines starting in 1998. By 2006, all manufacturers’ average emissions for new outboard and personal water craft gasoline engines must meet EPA’s most stringent low-pollution standards.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed today, Long Island retailers who are members of the Association of Marine Industries and the New York Marine Trades Association will encourage customers to buy low-polluting engines. By the end of 2003, 80 percent or more of the new engines sold will utilize cleaner technologies; by 2005, that number will rise to 95 percent. Participating retailers will provide the Empire State Marine Trades Association, a state-wide organization, with low-polluting engine sales information, which will be provided to EPA. The organizations will provide members with marketing and communications assistance, training and research. In turn, EPA will distribute public education materials to spread the word about cleaner marine engines, and will work with state agencies and municipalities to support the use of low pollution marine engines on Long Island.

There are approximately 39,380 registered personal water craft and boats with outboard motors in Nassau County and 81,165 in Suffolk County.

The voluntary Long Island clean marine engines program comes on the heels of other successful agreements between EPA, the marine industry and state governments in New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Information about the agreement and clean marine engines can be found at .