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EPA and National Marine Industry Associations Celebrate New Hampshire Initiative for Cleaner Small Boat Engines

Release Date: 03/27/2002
Contact Information: Andrew Spejewski, EPA Press Office, (617- 918-1014)

BOSTON-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Marine Retailers Association of America (MRAA), and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) today celebrated a successful New Hampshire initiative to encourage sales of low-polluting outboard motors and personal watercraft engines in the state.

EPA and the national associations today also signed a memorandum of understanding pledging their support to the N.H. Department of Environmental Services and the N.H. Marine Trades Association in continuing the Clean Marine Engine Program, which is also being expanded this year by EPA to other New England states. The initiative was formally announced yesterday in Massachusetts. The memorandum of understanding was signed at a ceremony at the New Hampshire Marine Patrol Headquarters in Gilford, NH.

"The Clean Marine Engine Initiative in New Hampshire is a great program that's serving as an example for many other states," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for the EPA's New England Office. "I'm proud that EPA can work with New Hampshire to support the program here and that we can work with the rest of the New England states to bring cleaner engines to all of the region's waterways."

The New Hampshire program, started two years ago, is designed to accelerate the sale of low-pollution two-and four-stroke marine engines which emit substantially less pollution than conventional marine engines. Conventional engines discharge up to 30 percent of their fuel directly into the water and air as pollution. EPA regulations require that by 2006, all manufacturers' average emissions for new outboard and personal watercraft engines meet low-pollution standards.

Under New Hampshire's program, participating marine retailers agreed to immediately encourage customers to buy low-pollution engines, and to report sales totals to the NH DES in order to track progress. The three dozen participating dealers met the New Hampshire program's goal for 2001 of having clean engines comprise 75 percent of all new engine sales, well ahead of the schedule required by EPA regulations. The program has set a goal of 90 percent for 2002 through 2005.

The New Hampshire program has inspired similar efforts across the country. EPA is bringing the program to every New England state, and Florida and Wisconsin have also adopted similar initiatives. EPA's New England office has set a goal of selling 75 percent clean engines this year across the region and 95 percent by 2004. Yesterday, in Boston, EPA signed an agreement with Massachusetts and national trade associations and the state committing to the goals, following a similar agreement signed last month in Rhode Island.

"We're very proud of the fact that the dealers in the state had the foresight to take this opportunity to protect the waters of New Hampshire without the need of legislation," said Jeff Thurston, who was president of the New Hampshire Marine Trades Association when the program began. "We took a chance on this, and our customers came through, making it a success for us and a success for the environment."

"I commend the marine dealers across New Hampshire who have actively participated in this initiative to ensure clean air and water by promoting the sale and use of low-pollution marine engines," said Dana Bisbee, assistant commissioner of the N.H. Department of Environmental Services. "It is especially rewarding that their efforts were the catalyst for what is now becoming a national program."

"Boat and engine manufacturers welcome the opportunity to do something for the environment," said Kelly Bobek, director of federal government relations for the National Marine Manufacturers Association. "NMMA and the recreational boating industry are appreciative of New Hampshire's efforts to help get cleaner engines onto our country's waterways."

New Hampshire has 100,000 registered boats. Small marine gasoline engines can have a big impact on waterways. Traditional small boat engines are two-stroke carbureted, with up to 30% of the fuel passing through the combustion chamber unburned or partially burned, thereby being released directly into the water and air as pollution. This produces airborne hydrocarbon (HC) emissions which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog. Gasoline discharged to the water elevates concentrations of benzene, MTBE and other toxics in lakes, ponds, and coastal waters.

Current low-pollution marine gasoline engines are either four-stroke or improved, fuel-injected two-stroke engines. Engines meeting EPA low-pollution requirements reduce air pollution by 75% or more, lower gasoline discharges to the water, improve fuel efficiency by 35-50%, and use up to 50% less oil. Other benefits include easier starting, better response, and less smoke and noise. While low-pollution engines cost more initially (15% more, typically), EPA estimates that the savings from lower fuel use will more than repay the difference over the life of the engine.