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Plan To Reach Zero Emissions At The Ports Of L.A. And Long Beach Could Cost $14 Billion

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have released an updated draft of their proposed Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) meant to bring the drayage fleet at the western hemisphere's largest port complex to zero emissions by 2035. The ports estimate that implementing the new plan will cost between $7 and $14 billion in public and private funds.

CAAP was initially launched in 2006 with the aim of "significantly reducing the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related ships, trains, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft." According to the Los Angeles Times, the San Pedro Bay ports are the single largest producer of air pollution in Southern California, with effects felt as far away as the Inland Empire.

"Collectively, sources at the port are responsible for more than 100 tons per day of smog- and particulate-forming nitrogen oxides - more than the daily emissions from all 6 million cars in the region," notes the South Coast Air Quality Management District. "In addition, the California Air Resources Board estimates that port air pollution creates cancer risks exceeding 500 in 1 million for tens of thousands of residents."

According to the plan, clean engine standards on new trucks entering the ports' drayage fleet will begin reducing emissions until the fleet hits zero emissions by 2035. Furthermore, various new freight infrastructure and energy policies aim to reduce "greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050."

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“Industry always claims cleaning up harmful air pollution is too expensive," Adrian Martinez, an attorney at Earthjustice, told the Los Angeles Times, "and this plan makes clear zero emissions is key to solving the port pollution crisis.”

“These ports are going where no port has gone before,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said in a statement. “Based on what we’ve already accomplished to promote healthy, robust trade through our gateway, we’re ready to make history again, looking at a new array of technologies and strategies to further lower port-related emissions in the decades ahead.”