Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Los Angeles Port: Pollution Programs Working

Environmental programs at the Port of Los Angeles have cut port-generated diesel emissions by double-digit numbers, according to the port's 2009 air emissions inventory released last week.

Diesel particulate matter, most commonly seen as soot in tailpipe emissions, declined 37 percent at port area monitoring stations compared to 2008 levels said the report. Levels of port-generated nitrogen oxide, or NOx, and sulfur oxide, or SOx, also dropped in 2009, down 28 percent and 36 percent respectively.

When compared to the 2005 baseline emissions measurement year, particulate matter has declined 52 percent, NOx emissions were down 33 percent, and SOx emissions declined 56 percent.

Several environmental programs are being pointed to by the port as the reason behind the declines, including: the trucking industry's rapid modernization of the port-servicing fleet; use of low-sulfur fuel by the shipping industry; ship-to-shore power facilities at several terminals; the shipping industry buy in to a voluntary speed reduction program; growing use of alternative fuels in off-road yard equipment and harbor craft; and, a modernization program of the port-servicing railroad's fleet of locomotives.

The major contributor to the pollution reduction, according to the port, has been the Clean Truck Program. Implemented in October 2008, the program utilized access licenses and bans on certain model year trucks to force the local drayage industry to modernize their fleets to 2007 or newer model year vehicles – which in some cases run 90 percent cleaner than the older trucks they replaced.

All of the cited programs are part of the Clean Air Action Plan, an omnibus environmental plan developed and adopted jointly with the neighboring Port of Long Beach in 2006, that set a 45 percent reduction over 2005 pollution levels as a 2012 goal.

Both ports are now considering new 2014 goals for the CAAP, which would reduce particulate matter emissions by 72 percent, NOx emissions by 22 percent, and SOx emissions by 93 percent below 2005 levels. The Port of Long Beach is expected to release its own inventory within the next several weeks. In the past, the two ports inventories have tended to mirror each other in measured results.