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United States Coast Guard

Letter from Jon Kessler to Captain J. Murphy

February 22, 1996

J.M. Murphy
Captain, U.S. Coast Guard
Chief, Research and Development Staff,
Office of Engineering, Logistics and Development
2100 Second Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20693-0001

Captain Murphy,

This letter is in reference to the proposal submitted by the U.S. Coast Guard on July 13, 1995. to EPA's Project XL. The proposal was to demonstrate off-shore of Southern California a Coast Guard-operated cutter using environmentally benign fuel cell technology. As you know from previous correspondence, the proposal was not selected for participation in Project XL. At the request of Bill Kumm of Arctic Energies, I am writing you today to clarify that EPA's decision on this matter was based on our conclusion that XL designation would not further the proposed demonstration, aside from lending a good name. Our decision did not reflect a negative judgment on the technology itself.

As to the merits of the technology demonstration, our reviewers concurred with the assessment of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) contained in a June 15, 1995, letter to your staff. The SCAQMD noted the potential benefits of fuel-cell powered ships to meeting Southern California's long run air quality goals. SCAQMD also pointed to this project as an example of pollution prevention at work. A May 15,.1995, letter from David Howekamp, Director, Air and Toxics Division, EPA Region 9 (San Francisco), made similar points. For example, Mr. Howekamp noted that ship traffic in the Santa Barbara Channel accounts for 10% of the NOx emissions in Ventura County, a severe ozone nonattainment area. He noted further that, "fuel cells, of course, can greatly reduce the environmental impact of fossil-fuel power sources."

In short, our reviewers concurred that fuel-cell technology holds tremendous promise for alleviating certain environmental problems. I applaud your continued interest in this area. I understand that EPA Region 9 has already extended to you an offer of assistance. Please feel free to contact me or Walter Walsh of my staff at (202) 260-2770 if we can be of further assistance.


Jon Kessler
Acting Director,
Emerging Sectors & Strategies Division

cc: William H. Kumm, Arctic Energies Ltd.
511 Heavitree Lane, Severna Park, MD 21146-1010

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