The San Pedro Bay ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with the participation and cooperation of the staff of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District, have developed a sweeping, aggressive strategy to significantly reduce the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related sources.
Adjacent to each other, the San Pedro Bay Ports are the two busiest container seaports in the United States, and, if taken together, are the fifth busiest in the world, moving more than $260 billion a year in trade. The ships, trucks, trains and other diesel-powered equipment and harbor craft at the ports are major sources of air pollution in a region that already has some of the worst air quality in the nation. Air pollutants at the ports include nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contributes to smog, and particulate matter (PM), which poses health risks.
The San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan is the most comprehensive, far-reaching strategy to combat air pollution ever developed by any United States seaport. It will involve hundreds of millions of dollars of investment by the ports and private sector businesses and will expedite the introduction of new and innovative methods of reducing emissions prior to that of any federal or state requirements.
For the first time ever, the ports have established uniform air quality standards at three key levels: the San Pedro Bay level, Project Specific level, and Source Specific Performance level. The Ports will leverage a number of implementation mechanisms for attaining the proposed standards -- including but not limited to: lease requirements, tariff changes, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) mitigation, and incentives. The Project Specific standard requires development to be below the threshold of significance for health risk.
Air pollutants at the ports include nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to smog; sulfur oxides (SOx), which contribute to particulate matter; and diesel particulate matter (PM), which poses health risks. Port-related vessels and vehicles account for 12 percent of the region’s particulate matter, 9 percent of the NOx and 45 percent of the SOx. The measures that will be implemented under the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan are expected to eliminate more than 47 percent of diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions from port-related sources within the next five years and significantly reduce associated health risks. Smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions will be reduced by more than 45 percent. Measures outlined in the Plan will also result in the reduction of sulfur oxides (SOx) by 52 percent. San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan
In five years, under the Plan, diesel PM from all port-related sources would be reduced by a total of 1,200 tons per year. NOx emissions would be reduced by 12,000 tons per year. SOx emissions would be reduced by 8,900 tons a year.
Pollution Reduction Strategies
- The Clean Air Action Plan addresses every category of port-related emission sources – ships, trucks, trains, cargo-handling equipment and harbor craft – and outlines specific, detailed strategies to reduce emissions from each category.
- The ports propose to eliminate “dirty” diesel trucks from San Pedro Bay cargo terminals within five years.
- The ports will join with the state and local agencies to finance programs to replace trucks with a new generation of clean or retrofitted vehicles.
- The ports, along with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, propose to allocate more than $200 million over five years towards this effort and will also aggressively seek state bond funding to assist with this massive truck replacement initiative.
- As part of the Plan, all major container cargo and cruise ship terminals at the ports would be equipped with shore-side electricity within five to ten years so that vessels can shut down their diesel-powered engines while at berth.
- Ships also would be required to reduce their speeds when entering or leaving the harbor region, use low-sulfur fuels, and employ other emissions reduction measures and technologies.
- Within five years all cargo-handling equipment would be replaced or retrofitted to meet or emit at levels below those called for in the toughest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards for new equipment.
- Without the Clean Air Action Plan, much of the cargo handling equipment not affected by the California Air Resource Board’s recently adopted cargo handling equipment regulation would be allowed to operate at current emission levels until it wears out.
- Within five years all switching locomotives operating in the Ports also will meet the toughest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for new locomotives, use cleaner fuels and exhaust treatment and devices that will automatically shut off engines to prevent extensive idling.
- In addition, all new rail yards must use the cleanest technologies available for locomotives, trucks, and cargo handling equipment within their facilities.
- The Plan also includes a far-reaching research component to address and ultimately overcome obstacles that impair the utilization of the cleanest vessels, engines and equipment in the world at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.