The state of Alaska has sued Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard, seeking to block the government from enforcing a low-sulfur fuel standard for ships operating off the coast of Alaska. Alaska v. Clinton, No. N/A (D. Alaska filed 7/13/12). The complaint alleges that the low-sulfur fuel standard, which is part of the air pollution rules set out in Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL ), is unconstitutional because it was not approved by a two-thirds vote of the U.S. Senate. It also argues that EPA has not provided a scientific justification for requiring low-sulfur fuel off the southeast and south-central coasts of Alaska.
Noting that low-sulfur fuel is expensive and difficult to obtain, the state has estimated that the standard will increase shipping costs in Alaska by 8 percent. It has thus asked for a declaration that the low-sulfur fuel requirement is unconstitutional, an order setting aside the requirement, and reimbursement of legal costs and attorney’s fees.