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L.A., Long Beach ports target air pollution with clean action plan

LOS ANGELES & LONG BEACH, Calif.–The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have introduced the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, a sweeping plan aimed at significantly reducing the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related ships, trains, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft.

The San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, released in draft for public review and comments, was created with the cooperation and participation of the staff of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Plan proposes hundreds of millions of dollars in investments by the ports, the local air district, the state, and port-related industry to cut particulate matter (PM) pollution from all port-related sources by more than 50 percent within the next five years. Measures to be implemented under the plan also will reduce smog forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 45 percent, and will also result in reductions of other harmful air emissions such as sulfur oxides (SOx).

Under the Plan, the ports propose to eliminate “dirty” diesel trucks from San Pedro Bay cargo terminals within five years by joining with the state and local agencies to finance and pursue funding channels to help finance a new generation of clean or retrofitted vehicles. The ports, along with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, propose to allocate more than $200 million toward this specific effort.

The Plan also calls for all major container cargo and cruise ship terminals at the ports to be equipped with shore-side electricity within five to ten years so that vessels at berth can shut down their diesel-powered auxiliary engines. Ships would also be required to reduce their speeds when entering or leaving the harbor region, use low-sulfur fuels and employ other emissions reduction measures and technologies.

Within five years, all cargo-handling equipment also would be replaced or retrofitted to meet or emit at levels that exceed those called for in the toughest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards for new equipment. Without the Clean Air Action Plan, much of the cargo handling equipment not affected by the California Air Resource Board’s recently adopted cargo handling equipment regulation would be allowed to operate at current emission levels until it wears out.

Under the Clean Air Action Plan, diesel PM from all port-related sources would be reduced by a total of 1,200 tons a year and NOx would be reduced by 12,000 tons a year.

Following a 30 day period for public review, then subsequent staff revisions to the Plan (as appropriate), the Boards of Harbor Commissioners at both ports will vote on whether to adopt the Clean Air Action Plan and its proposed lease requirements, tariff changes and incentives.

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