Nation's two largest ports unveil plan targeting air pollution

| 6/29/2006

Operators of two Southern California ports are taking an unprecedented joint action to improve air quality in their areas.

On Wednesday, June 28, officials from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach introduced the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, a program aimed at significantly reducing the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related ships, trains, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft.

Following a 30-day period for public review and comment, the harbor commissioners at both ports will vote on whether to adopt the Clean Air Action Plan.

The plan 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.

According to a press release, the plan proposes hundreds of millions of dollars in investments by the ports, the local air district and state and port-related industries to cut particulate matter pollution from all port-related sources by more than 50 percent within the next five years.

The plan also will reduce smog forming nitrogen oxides emissions by more than 45 percent, and will also result in reductions of other harmful air emissions, such as sulfur oxides.

The ports will join with the state and local agencies to finance new 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.