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About the Clean Air Action Plan

On November 20, 2006 , the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles took an unprecedented joint action to improve air quality in the South Coast Air Basin by adopting the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), a sweeping plan aimed at significantly reducing the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related ships, trains, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft.

The CAAP was developed with the cooperation and participation of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The CAAP was a landmark air quality plan that established the most comprehensive, far-reaching strategy for reducing port-related air pollution and related health risks, while allowing port development, and the job creation and economic activity associated with that development, to continue. The plan ushered in a slew of anti-air pollution strategies including the ports’ Clean Trucks Programs, vessel pollution reduction programs, and advanced new technology, such as the world’s first hybrid tugboat.


In recognition of the groundbreaking work and commitment by both ports, several awards and recognitions have been received, including in 2007, the 8th Annual National USEPA Clean Air Excellence Award for the CAAP.

The CAAP contained goals to achieve a 45% emissions reduction in diesel particulate matter (DPM), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx) by the end of 2011. In fact, the reductions in port-related emissions that are expected to be achieved by 2011 exceed the estimates in the CAAP.These greater emissions reductions are due in large part to the more aggressive Clean Trucks Programs adopted by each port, CARB’s Vessel Fuel Regulation for cargo ships which was supported by the ports, and lower cargo throughput than was originally anticipated.

The ports believe it is important to continuously update and improve upon the CAAP, where necessary, in order to monitor progress, plan for the future, and maximize success. Staff from both ports meet regularly to evaluate progress towards meeting the CAAP goals, review status of existing control measures, evaluate new measures, and jointly develop updates to the CAAP as needed.

The CAAP Update

The ports, working cooperatively, in consultation with the air quality regulatory agencies, have developed their first revision to the CAAP. The CAAP Update is proposed as a new and improved version of the original CAAP.With this update, the ports will be identifying planning goals through the end of 2013, and establishing health risk reduction goals for 2020 and emissions reduction goals for the years 2014 and 2023, which are based upon the clean air target dates set by state and federal regulatory agencies. The focus areas of the CAAP Update remain the same as the original CAAP.The Update includes information on the ports’ overall progress in implementing the original CAAP strategies, as well as updated information on details of the implementation of specific strategies.In addition, a few of the measures have been modified to reflect changes in federal and state regulations that affect port source categories. Finally, the CAAP Update identifies milestone dates and forecasts potential emissions reductions and budget commitments for the next five years, through the end of 2013.

The most significant addition to the proposed CAAP Update is the development of the San Pedro Bay Standards which establish long-term goals for emissions and health-risk reductions for the overall two-port complex. The ports have proposed these goals as a means of reducing their “fair share” of pollutants in the local region.

The ports will track their progress in achieving CAAP standards with annual emissions inventories. These inventories, which are made public, already have shown progress from 2005 to 2008 in reducing air pollution from port-related sources.Air pollution from port-related sources is targeted by a combination of requiring or incentivizing the goods movement industry to use cleaner technology and operational systems that reduce air pollution from the trucks, trains, ships, harbor craft, terminal equipment.Even if cargo increases as expected, air pollution will be significantly reduced.

Finally, the San Pedro Bay Standards in the proposed update to the CAAP set goals beyond what the ports can demonstrate with current technologies and strategies. But the ports feel it is necessary to establish aggressive objectives to try to meet clean air and health needs of the local community and region. The ports expect new technologies to be developed in coming years that will be useful in this effort. In support of development and demonstration of these new technologies, as part of the original CAAP, the ports developed a Technology Advancement Program, which has made more than $9 million in port funding available for new technology projects since 2007.

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