Photo of blue whale in the Santa Barbara Channel by John Calambokidis, Cascadia Research

See poster from May 2016 Ocean Climate Summit.  Also see April 2016 revised calculations for 2014 VSR Trial emissions reductions in Factsheet and Report.  And see Blue Whales Blue Skies Media Clips.

Addressing Impacts to Santa Barbara County

In 2014, the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, and the Environmental Defense Center launched a trial incentive program to slow ships down in the Santa Barbara Channel to reduce air pollution and protect endangered whales. The trial was successfully completed November 30, 2014, and results are reported at the links posted above.

In September 2014, the District and partners presented a Community Forum about the trial program titled “Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies.”

Speakers and participants in the Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies Forum

Speakers and participants in the forum:  (Left to right)   Brad Winney, Conserve.IO (Whale Alert developer), Linda Parks, Ventura County 2nd District Supervisor, Mike Villegas, Ventura County Air Pollution Control District, Dave Van Mullem, Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (SBCAPCD), Brian Shafritz, SBCAPCD, Sean Herron, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS), Kristi Birney, Environmental Defense Center, Wayne Miller, UC Riverside, Sean Hastings, CINMS, TL Garrett, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, Steve Gaines, UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, Elgin Pallay, Maersk Line, Sharyn Main, Santa Barbara Foundation, Mary Byrd, SBCAPCD, Mike Murray, CINMS

This free forum was sponsored by Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District, NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the Environmental Defense Center, and the UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. Contact Mary Byrd at 805-961-8833 for more information.

See below for more background information.

A September 2013 court decision will leave in place international rules to reduce shipping emissions. See this page for more information.

The District has suggested using AB 32 Cap-and-Trade auction funds to achieve voluntary ship speed reduction off the coast of California. This could reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and a range of other pollutants; it could also reduce the fatality of ship strikes on whales. On March 7, 2013, the District submitted a proposal for a vessel speed reduction incentive initiative to the California Air Resources Board, and on April 23, the District submitted a letter calling for inclusion of the initiative in the final Investment Plan. See April 23, 2013 letter, plus letters supporting the idea of a vessel speed reduction initiative from other agencies, businesses, and organizations. Also see original March 7 submittal with Implementation Plan The state FY 2013-2014 budget established that these funds would be loaned to the budget, and not expended in this fiscal year; the District is continuing to explore ways to implement this project.

The District has held a series of  Marine Shipping Solutions Group meetings. A November 8, 2012 meeting featured Bruce Anderson of Starcrest Consulting Group and Carter Atkins of the Port of Los Angeles. See presentation (PDF). See descriptions of previous meetings in the District newsletter featuring whale researcher John Calambokidis in the summer 2012 issue, and Lee Kindberg of Maersk in the winter 2012 issue. To be added to an email list for information about upcoming presentations, email Mary Byrd.

picture-this-whaleThese web pages provide information on emissions from marine shipping and on the District’s activities in this area. Follow the links below, and continue on this page for general information on shipping emissions in Santa Barbara County.

Santa Barbara County Sources of NOx

Large ships are responsible for substantial amounts of worldwide emissions of black carbon, nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter, sulfur, air toxics, greenhouse gases, and substances that deplete ozone in the upper atmosphere. Shipping emissions have been included in District emission inventories since 1994, and the District has been working to raise awareness of the problem and calling for voluntary and regulatory measures to control these emissions. In Santa Barbara County, NOx emissions from ships traveling off our coast are a concern, as NOx emissions are involved in the formation of ozone, and the County does not attain the state ozone standard. A continued focus on marine shipping emissions is also important to ensure the County remains in attainment of the federal ozone standard.

See “Past Activities” link above to see previous District activities calling for regulations in this area. Recently, several regulations have been issued that will reduce these emissions (see “Initiatives” link above). These regulations will bring about significant reductions in several pollutants in the near term; however, NOx reductions will only be achieved in a long-term timeframe. The District’s current focus is to explore ways to achieve more near-term NOx reductions and additional reductions in other pollutants. See “Local Studies & Actions” and “Technologies and Research” links above for more information.

District Contacts

Fore more information, contact Community Programs Supervisor Mary Byrd.