The Port of Long Beach will reduce truck pollution in the harbor by almost 80 percent by the end of the year, two years earlier than port executives anticipated when they launched the clean-trucks plan in the fall of 2008.
Long Beach and neighboring Los Angeles introduced clean-trucks programs on Oct. 1, 2008, when they banned all pre-1989 trucks. Since then, harbor truckers have purchased more than 5,000 vehicles that meet the federal Environmental Protection Agency standards for 2007-model trucks.
The compliant trucks now move about 52 percent of all containers handled in the harbor, and cumulatively they are helping to reduce truck pollution by almost 80 percent. When the clean-trucks plans were developed, the ports expected to achieve the 80 percent reduction by Jan. 1, 2012.
Pollution will be reduced steadily as the drayage community works to meet the next benchmark in the clean-trucks plans. On Jan. 1, 2010, all pre-1994 trucks will be banned. Model year 1994 to 2003 trucks will be allowed to move containers in the harbor only if they are retrofitted with acceptable pollution traps.
Also, about 5 percent of the harbor truck fleet is now powered by natural gas. The ports encourage the use of alternative fuels to reduce diesel pollution.
Trucking industry supporters say the success of the program proves that parts of the program that violate federal pre-emption standards and are not related to controlling emissions, including a Los Angeles requirement that drivers be employees of companies holding concessions, are not necessary.
But the local environmental coalition said the success a year after the programs went into effect is a sign that groups should urge Congress “to stop an industry attack designed to roll back LA’s progress and deter other ports from following suit.” The trucking industry court efforts do not affect parts of the program that have been implemented.
One environmental attorney, Melissa Lin Perrella of the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Long Beach Daily Breeze newspaper the ports should “have the right to go after trucking companies that fail to provide clean trucks to the terminals.” Trucks that do not comply with emissions standards under the port plans are not now allowed to serve the port.
Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at email@example.com.