Environmental and Industry Organizations Urge Congress to Pass Bill to Zero Out Shipping Pollution 

Date: November 17, 2022

Washington, D.C. (November 17, 2022) – Today, a group of 31 environmental and community organizations and 13 industry organizations sent letters to Democratic leadership in Congress calling on them to support the Clean Shipping Act of 2022 (H.R. 8336). Introduced by Representatives Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Nanette Barragán (CA-44) in July, the bill aims to clean up the shipping industry, protect the health of port communities, address environmental injustice, and provide solutions to the climate crisis.

Specifically, passage of the bill would direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to promulgate regulations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from marine vessels that call on ports in the United States – reaching 100% GHG emission reductions by 2040 – and to require zero in-port emissions from marine vessels by 2030.

Environmental and community leaders wrote, “Now is the time for the U.S. to be more ambitious than ever on climate action. In addition to achieving life-saving emissions reductions, this bill will help spur the development of the zero-emission vessel market and accelerate zero-emission research and demonstration across the maritime supply chain. With so much at stake, we call on the U.S. to commit to helping achieve a zero-emissions shipping industry and urge Congress to pass this bill.”

Industry leaders wrote, “Now is the time for the U.S. to be a global climate leader in addressing pollution from the shipping industry. The European Union is already taking steps to reduce GHG emissions from ships calling on ports in the EU with its FuelEU Maritime proposed regulation. To advance the U.S.’ competitiveness in marine vessel decarbonization and effectively mitigate the global climate crisis, we urge Congress to direct and mandate EPA to end all fossil-fuel pollution from the global shipping industry.”

For decades, fossil-fueled ships, owned largely by international corporations, have brought significant levels of air pollution into largely working-class communities and communities of color living in and near U.S. ports. It is imperative that Congress protect Americans from further exposure to ship pollution, and pathways now exist that can transition the shipping industry from its dependency on fossil fuels to zero-emission propulsion.

Zero-emission fuels and vessels need to be deployed at scale over the next decade to achieve full decarbonization of the shipping sector. If enacted, the Clean Shipping Act of 2022 would help prompt this shift in decarbonization strategies, enabling the deployment of advanced zero-emission technologies and minimizing the risk for manufacturers and suppliers.

By tackling shipping emissions here at home, the U.S. can set the international standard for ocean-based climate action and assert pressure on the International Maritime Organization, the international governing body for the shipping industry, to adopt more aggressive GHG emission reduction goals.


“We can and we must decarbonize the global shipping industry,” Congressman Alan Lowenthal said. “We have a critical opportunity to take a stand against a major source of harmful emissions, and to protect the health and well-being of frontline communities all over our nation. We can lead the world to a clean energy future, and build a green economy. I thank all those who made their voices heard in support of this vital legislation.”

“The Clean Shipping Act is the game-changer we need to clean up the shipping industry and improve public health in port communities, including communities of color living near the Port of Los Angeles. The support of the legislation by the environmental community and the shipping industry shows that zero-emissions shipping is the future, and America should lead the way. To decarbonize the shipping industry at the speed and scale necessary to address the climate crisis, EPA must set clear standards for zero-emission fuels and zero-emission port technology. Let’s get it done,” said Congresswoman Nanette Barragán.

“The Clean Shipping Act is bold legislation that has broad support from environmental and community groups as well as maritime companies, including Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, and ABB, a leading provider of marine and port electrification solutions. Strong regulatory action must be taken to phase out greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping industry and to create the economic environment for large-scale investment in zero-emission technologies and fuels,” said Antonio Santos, Federal Climate Policy Director, Pacific Environment. “As world leaders come together at COP27 in Egypt to discuss solutions to the climate crisis, we are reminded that the maritime sector must do its part to help the planet avoid the worst impacts of global warming. We urge Congress to pass this bill to address the climate emergency and protect our oceans and public health.”

“Congressman Lowenthal’s Clean Shipping Act is the bold and commonsense legislation the U.S. needs to address the shipping industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and is a necessary step towards tackling the climate crisis,” said Rachael DeWitt, Manager of Government Relations at Ocean Conservancy. “We must reduce emissions now in order to be on track to meet our climate goals. This bill will not only lessen shipping emissions, but it will also reduce air and ocean pollution that has disproportionately impacted frontline communities near ports and along coasts. Congress should act swiftly to pass this legislation.”


Gwen Dobbs, Pacific Environment, [email protected], 202-329-9295