California looks to reduce emissions by ports, railroads

| 3/2/2005

The California Air Resources Board is taking a hard look at pollution caused by the state’s ports and railroads, the agency announced recently.

Part of the focus on ports will include the emissions from diesel trucks that service the port terminals. The reports are the latest round in a decade-long plan by CARB, started in 2000, to cut all diesel emissions by 75 percent within 10 years.

CARB announced the information Feb. 24 after it received two staff reports that focused on emissions from the state’s railroads and seaports.

“Emissions from ports and railroads are gaining more attention as we clean up other pollution sources,” Barbara Riordan, acting chairwoman of CARB, said in a statement. “Already, port-related emissions are nearly 25 percent of all diesel particulate matter air pollution generated in L.A.”

According to CARB’s research, emissions from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will be greater than all emissions from diesel trucks and gasoline-powered vehicles in the entire state combined by the year 2020 unless those emissions are reduced.

The CARB plan includes several proposed regulations that are designed to cut emissions from oceangoing ships and harbor craft, as well as diesel-powered trucks and loading equipment that service them, according to a news release from the agency.

However, Riordan said, “California has limited abilities to control pollution from planes, trains and ships – to be successful, we need help from the federal government as well as from international regulatory agencies.”

Meanwhile, not all efforts are focused on trucks or ports. The agency is also taking a hard look at railroads, which it says contribute almost 200 tons per day of ozone-forming compounds and NOx emissions statewide.

Another part of the CARB plan would require locomotives that operate only in California to use the same diesel fuel as on-the-road trucks. The agency is also trying to get railroads to use only the locomotives that produce the least pollution are used within the state.