Ports Bill Paves the Way for Clean Air Programs Across the Country

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jessica Lass, 310-434-2317

Ports Bill Paves the Way for Clean Air Programs Across the Country

The Clean Ports Act 2010 Supports Existing Clean Truck Programs in Cities from New York to Los Angeles

WASHINGTON - Legislation introduced today by
Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) seeks to reduce truck-borne
pollution in and around our nation's shipping ports, according to the
Natural Resources Defense Council. The federal legislation will protect
port authority to implement stronger environmental standards on trucks
and protect the pioneering Clean Truck Program established in October
2008 by the Port of Los Angeles.

"People living near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
have suffered health problems for too long due to dirty trucks," said
Melissa Lin Perrella, senior attorney for NRDC. "We need to ensure ports
have the authority to readily address these local threats to public
health and safety. The Clean Ports Act of 2010 will safeguard the
Southern California Clean Truck Program and other innovative clean truck
programs adopted across the nation, as well as encourage other ports to
improve the quality of their operations to reduce harmful air pollution
in their communities."

Port-serving trucks emit diesel particulate matter, which is
associated with heart attacks, asthma, chronic bronchitis, premature
mortality, increased cancer risk and other serious health ailments.
Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to these health
risks. In early 2008, the port trucking system was estimated to impose
up to $1.7 billion of costs on the Los Angeles region every year in the
form of operational inefficiencies, community impacts and, above all,
impacts on public health.

Background:

Since October 1, 2008, the Los Angeles Clean Truck Program
has significantly reduced air pollution from trucks at the ports and in
communities along freight transportation corridors by nearly 80 percent,
a goal the Port of Los Angeles planned to achieve by 2012. An estimated
$1.6 billion dollars is invested to replace an aging fleet of 17,000
trucks with newer, cleaner vehicles at the ports of Los Angeles and Long
Beach before 2012.

The Los Angeles Clean Truck Program is part of the Clean Air
Action Plan adopted by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in an
effort to expand the ports' business operations and also reduce harmful
air pollution impacts on the local port community and environment. The
Port of Los Angeles Clean Truck Program addresses safety and
environmental concerns plaguing local communities by holding trucking
companies directly responsible for the condition of the trucks they use
to haul port cargo.

However, industry advocates have argued that the Federal
Aviation Administration Authorization Act precludes ports from reforming
port trucking operations or even fixing inefficiencies that affect a
port's bottom line. The Clean Ports Act of 2010 will empower - but not
mandate - local ports to adopt requirements for motor carriers and
vehicles that are reasonably related to the reduction of environmental
pollution and traffic congestion, the improvement of highway safety, or
the efficient utilization of port facilities. Such legislation will
ensure that ports have the necessary tools to adequately address
environmental and safety threats posed by the trucking industry. 

Relevant Links:

Read David Pettit's blog on port air pollution: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dpettit/ 

Read Melissa Lin Perrella's blog at: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/mlinperrella/ 

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The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

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