Los Angeles, Long Beach ports target diesel exhaust

In a move expected by the trucking industry for some time, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Wednesday, June 28, announced the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan – a package of mandates that would force a reduction in diesel exhaust emissions at the nation’s two largest ports.

Among other things, the plan would require by 2011 that all trucks operating at the ports “frequently or semi-frequently” meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2007 on-road emissions standards for particulate matter and use the cleanest available technology for curtailing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions at the time of replacement or retrofit.

The plan does include a carrot as well as a stick, however. The ports and the South Coast Air Quality Management District propose spending more than $200 million to help truck operators finance new or retrofitted vehicles.

The trucking industry isn’t the only target of the San Pedro plan, however. The ports also would require all major container cargo and cruise ship terminals at the ports to be equipped with shore-side electricity within 5 to 10 years so that vessels can provide climate control and other power needs without running diesel-powered auxiliary engines. Cargo-handling equipment also would have to meet the toughest EPA emissions standards for that equipment within 5 years.

Interested parties have 30 days to comment on the plan, after which the boards of both ports would vote on whether to adopt the Clean Air Action Plan and its proposed lease requirements, tariff changes and incentives.

Public meetings are scheduled for July 10 and July 25 for the Port of Los Angeles, and July 12 and July 19 for the Port of Long Beach. For meeting locations and times, go to www.portofla.org or www.polb.com. Comments also can be submitted by e-mail to either caap@portofla.org or caap@polb.com

For an overview of the ports’ clean air plan, click here.