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July 31, 2017   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Ports Tell Communities to Wait 18 Years for Clean Air

Ports' plan ignores emissions that can be reduced today by ready and available clean diesel technology.

Recently, the massive ports of L.A. and Long Beach just told their communities they have to wait 18 years for cleaner air. According to the revised Clean Air Action Plan issued by both ports, by 2035 the port will do as much as it can to electrify every piece of equipment and truck that calls marine terminals. This strategy makes a big bet on technologies that are currently not available, particularly for the heavy-duty trucks. By doing this, the ports ignore emissions that can be reduced today by ready and available clean diesel technology.

Emissions in the San Pedro Bay ports has improved impressively over the past decade and much of this has been delivered by clean diesel. According to the updated Plan released by the ports, air quality targets set for 2023 have either been met or are very close to being achieved. The ports want to see fine particles from diesel sources down 77 percent since 2005. Fine particles from diesel sources are actually down 84 percent. By 2023, the ports want NOx emissions to fall by 59 percent since 2005. NOx emissions have fallen by 50 percent already.

While emission reductions are down, more can be done today with existing technologies, including clean diesel, to achieve immediate term emission reductions and generate benefits for communities near ports. Looking just at the population of 16,000 Class 8 trucks that call marine terminals every day, only 45 percent are of the latest generation near-zero emissions diesel technology to meet the model year 2010 tailpipe standard. Getting more of the latest technology sitting on dealer lots today will do quite a lot to reduce emissions immediately. 

Instead, the ports plan to spend anywhere from $7 billion to $14 billion to test and demonstrate emerging technologies with a view to mandating these technologies by 2035. While the ports test technologies that may never prove out, communities are asked to wait for more emission reductions that are easily achievable today with clean diesel. 


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Ezra Finkin
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