Los Angeles port extends truck ban deadline

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Updated Jan 21, 2010

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission announced Wednesday, Dec. 16, that it has approved a second set of modifications to the Port of Los Angeles tariff to allow truckers to continue operating their existing trucks past the ban date of Jan. 1, 2010.

Also, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced that their respective Clean Trucks Programs have won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Achievement Award – the nation’s highest honor for reducing the impact of pollution on low-income and disadvantaged communities.

The second set of tariff modifications are designed to be consistent with a Drayage Truck Rule Advisory issued by the California Air Resources Board on Dec. 8, which will allow truckers that have purchased a new truck or retrofit with private funds to continue to operate their existing truck until April 30, 2010, while waiting for the new truck to be delivered or the retrofit to be installed.

The Port of Los Angeles tariff will allow the same extension as CARB for purchase of a truck with private funds. To qualify for the extension based on private purchase of a retrofit, the truck must be a Level 3 retrofit, and it also must have a 25 percent NOx reduction capability in order to be able to operate in the Port of Los Angeles. The Port of Long Beach recently approved similar provisions to its tariff. If the retrofit on order does not have this additional NOx reduction capability, it will not meet the San Pedro Bay Ports environmental requirements, so the extension will not be allowed in either port.

To sign up for this latest extension, truckers need to be registered on both the State and Port Drayage Truck Registry by Dec. 30, and they must provide a copy of a purchase order or other evidence of a commitment of funds for the new truck or retrofit to CARB by Dec. 31. The State has committed to send stickers allowing entry into ports and rail yards statewide to qualifying truckers by Jan. 15, 2010. The two ports have agreed to update their electronic gate entry system for entrance into port terminals by the same date, Jan. 15, 2010.

EPA recognized the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles – along with several community, environmental and industry partners – for “setting the bar” for port facilities worldwide. EPA commended the port stakeholder group that helped develop the trucking program and collaborated to replace thousands of aging exhaust-spewing trucks with new, clean big-rigs. The program is producing “immediate and ongoing environmental benefits” for local neighborhoods, EPA says.

“Protecting our neighbors from air pollution is exactly what we set out to do with the Clean Trucks Program,” says Nick Sramek, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. “We are happy to see this program and our partnership recognized as an example for addressing environmental justice concerns.”

Officially launched Oct. 1, 2008, the Clean Trucks Program is spurring the replacement of the entire trucking fleet at the nation’s largest port complex. It is on track to achieve an 80 percent reduction in truck-related air pollution nearly two years ahead of schedule, the ports say.

In bestowing the award to the Clean Trucks Program, EPA recognized the ports and the Clean Air Action Plan Stakeholder Group – environmental groups, labor unions, community groups, industry coalitions, regulators and researchers – who provided input on the development of the program and contributed to its continuing success.

“The Port of Los Angeles is honored to receive such recognition from the nation’s highest environmental authority,” says Geraldine Knatz, Port of Los Angeles executive director. “We have taken unprecedented action to clean up these fleets, and those efforts have made the air cleaner for the benefit of many communities surrounding the port complex.”

The Clean Trucks Program is a gradual phasing out of the oldest trucks. Last year, the 1988 and older big rigs were banned. On New Year’s Day 2010, many more will be barred. And finally by 2012, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles will allow only trucks with 2007 or newer engines. These engines are 80 percent cleaner than average truck in the fleet a couple years ago. The only trucks allowed to enter marine terminals at the ports are those that meet environmental, safety and security standards. Access is controlled with electronic RFID tags.

In phasing out the oldest trucks, the ports have offered financial assistance to those truck owners who needed help to obtain a cleaner truck. Many thousands of trucks already have been replaced. It’s estimated that after the New Year, nearly 8,000 trucks – about 90 percent of the fleet – will meet the stringent 2007 standards.

The stakeholder partners, in addition to the ports, were the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Coalition for Clean Air, the Coalition for a Safe Environment, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 13, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, American Association of Railroads, Majestic Realty Co., Waterfront Coalition, FuturePorts, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Warehouse and Logistics Association, California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, University of Southern California Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center, and Occupational and Environmental Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.