Big cargo ships are some of the heaviest polluters on the planet. They might also be one of the most efficient forms of transporting goods — and a large reason why we Americans are able to purchase so much from so far away for comparatively little money.
In an effort to curb the harmful emissions spewed by these big ships along the heavily populated coastline of California, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) has required all ships coming within 24 nautical miles of the coast to use cleaner burning fuel. But rather than make the switch, many ships are simply choosing a more crowded naval route that runs through the heart of a Navy weapons testing ground.
As such, many shipping companies are directing their vessels away from the Santa Barbara Channel, which cuts miles off of their log and thus saves money. This route happens to lack the in/out organization of the Santa Barbara Channel, making the possibility of a collision much more likely. This is also the location of the Navy’s Point Mugu Sea Range where they practice naval exercises.
Sounds like CARB needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink this law. Perhaps instead of charging ships per-mile, a flat fee for not using low-sulfur fuel that would negate any savings by taking the quicker route. It is a tough question to answer, and has a dramatic affect on many lives as well.