One day after the start of a legal case that may determine the fate of the Port of Los Angeles' Clean Truck Program, the United States Federal Maritime Commission announced that the port had been named the recipient of the inaugural FMC Chairman's Earth Day Award for the same program.
FMC Chairman Richard Lidinsky, Jr. cited the port's "innovation and environmental leadership" in the development and implementation of the truck program. Lidinsky noted that since the truck program was first implemented in October 2008, port monitoring has recorded a 70 percent drop in truck emissions, eliminating more than 30 tons of pollutants from the skies annually.
The port was selected on the basis of the following criteria: innovation in design of sustainability-enhancing incentives, measurement, and accountability; effectiveness in increasing sustainability, efficiency, and reducing environmental impacts; and anticipated creation of green jobs through efficient ocean commerce that grows in a sustainable manner.
"Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz and their team have shown real leadership in developing a Clean Truck program that, as the centerpiece of the Port's Clean Air Action Plan, combines incentives with accountability to make our nation's busiest liner shipping port complex more sustainable," said Lidinsky.
Lidinsky also noted that the port has promoted the provision of dock-side Alternative Maritime Power, or “cold-ironing,” for both cargo and passenger vessels; electric and alternative fuel drayage vehicles through demonstration projects; the first hybrid tug in operation in the United States; wildlife habitat promotion and restoration; and water quality and conservation measures.
The American Trucking Associations are currently suing the port over certain non-environmental aspects of the truck program that are currently under injunction by a District Court order. Ironically, in 2007 the FMC also sought to halt the Los Angeles truck program in court, though later dropped the case after the ATA won its injunctions.