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Dr. Bains Says CARB Knowingly Sacrificing Mariner Safety and Supply Chain Stability

For immediate release:

(Sacramento) – Dr. Jasmeet Bains (D-Delano) released the following statement on the introduction of Assembly Bill 1122, which supersedes the California Air Resources Board’s new harbor vessel emissions regulations by ensuring they cannot go into effect without being certified they are safe for mariners and undisruptive to supply chain operations at California’s ports.

“California’s ports are responsible for 40% of all the imports and exports of the United States. Importantly, they are critical to the operation of the San Joaquin Valley’s agricultural industries. Disruptions at our ports create supply chain ripple effects throughout the state and country, driving up inflation and costs for things like gasoline.

“The mariners, pilots, and other crewmembers who operate port and harbor vessels are essential to making the supply chain run smoothly while also protecting the sensitive environment of our coastal communities.

“The California Air Resources Board knowingly sacrificed the safety of these brave men and women, and ignored the advice of the US Coast Guard, when they adopted recent amendments to regulations governing tugboats and other harbor vessels. The amendments were adopted despite objections from the US Coast Guard that they could jeopardize the safety of crewmembers and the environment alike. In fact, CARB hid its communication with the US Coast Guard from the public and refused to modify its amendments to address their concerns.

“These regulations would compel vessel owners to retrofit their ships with unproven technologies that could cause engines to heat up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and catch fire – endangering the safety of the crew and anyone around them. They could cause tugboats to lose control of oil tankers resulting in oil spills that will kill countless marine animals and irreparably harm sensitive habitats. These regulations are simply too dangerous to go forward unchanged.

“I have introduced Assembly Bill 1122 to respond to concerns raised by California workers, businesses, and the U.S. Coast Guard that the current regulations imposed by CARB would mandate untested, unapproved, and potentially dangerous technologies. This bill will ensure that any piece of equipment that CARB mandates for maritime operators must be approved by experts so that we can avoid any potential dangers to mariner safety and the marine environment. This is standard practice for the industry globally and should be the standard practice in California.

“I am not willing to stand by and watch someone die because CARB didn’t do their job. They have known about these concerns since at least 2021 and have done nothing to address them. The Legislature must step in to ensure that safety comes before bureaucratic apathy.”

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Dr. Jasmeet Bains represents the 35th Assembly District in Kern County which includes the cities of Bakersfield, Delano, Wasco, Arvin, Shafter, and McFarland.