Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SoCal Ports Pick UP EPA Award For Truck Program

The end-of-the-year award season is upon us and the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles have picked up a big one.

The US Environmental Protection Agency on Monday awarded the agency's 2009 Environmental Justice Achievement Award to the adjacent ports for their jointly-developed-but-separately-implemented Clean Truck Program.

The CTP, which seeks to cut ports-servicing truck pollution by 80 by 2012 by banning certain model year trucks is several stages, will by the Jan. 1, 2010 implementation of the second CTP ban, be nearly two years ahead of schedule, according to the ports.

The first ban, implemented in October 2008, banned all pre-1989 trucks from servicing the ports and the impending Jan. 1, 2010 ban will do the same to all pre-1994 trucks and all 1994-2003 models without retrofit pollution control devices. A final ban in 2012 would eliminate all pre-2007 model year trucks from entering the ports.

The first ban eliminated more than 2,200 trucks from the more than 19,000 pre-CTP ports-servicing truck fleet, while the Jan. 1, 2010 ban is expected to ban another 8,000 trucks.

The EPA called the CTP "the largest, most aggressive air quality program at any port complex in the world." In bestowing the award, the EPA cited the ports "aggressive" outreach to both the community and stakeholders, including the development of the Clean Air Action Plan Stakeholder Group, which includes environmental and community-based organizations.

Although cited as a positive step by the EPA, the stakeholders group, which met in the early development stages of the truck program, was highly criticized by members at the time as not offering real public input into the plan.

The Port of Los Angeles version of the CTP remains mired in litigation, with portions of the program currently under injunction by a federal court. The port will face off in federal court against the American Trucking Associations early next year to determine if the injuncted portions of the Los Angeles-version of the truck program will be permanently stuck down. Officials at the neighboring Long Beach port reached and agreement with the ATA in October and have since been removed from the ongoing litigation.