Los Angeles Reports Deep Pollution Reductions

Los Angeles Reports Deep Pollution Reductions

The clean-trucks program and other pollution-reduction measures slashed harmful diesel emissions at Los Angeles last year, according to the port's 2009 air emissions inventory.

Diesel particulate matter emissions declined 37 percent from 2008, nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions fell 28 percent, and sulfur oxide emissions dropped 36 percent, the report said.

The reduction in pollution was even more dramatic when compared to 2005. The 2009 DPM emissions declined 52 percent, NOx emissions were down 33 percent, and SOx emissions dropped 56 percent over the four-year period.

A number of actions led to the drop in diesel emissions, including California’s requirements for use of low-sulfur fuel in oceangoing vessels, the port’s alternative maritime power and vessel speed-reduction program, use of alternative fuels in cargo-handling equipment and harbor craft, and the modernizing of Pacific Harbor Line switcher locomotives.

The biggest declines in the 2009 inventory report can be attributed to the clean-trucks program, said Christopher Patton, the port’s acting assistant director of environmental management. More than 6,000 clean-diesel and LNG trucks have replaced old, polluting trucks in the harbor since the program started on Oct. 1, 2008.

Los Angeles, the nation's largest container port, has attained more than half its 10-year target reductions for DPM and SOx emissions, and the port continues to exceed the target for NOx emissions, Patton said. Emissions are expected to decline further this year.

In order to account for reductions in pollution that can be attributed to the decline in cargo volume during last year’s recession, the port also measured emissions on a per-10,000 TEU basis. By that measure, particulate matter emissions dropped 47 percent, NOx by 26 percent and SOx by 51 percent compared to 2005, according to the inventory.

Reducing emissions on a per-TEU basis is a key goal of the joint Los Angeles and Long Beach Clean Air Action Plan because it ensures that each unit of cargo will be moved with fewer emissions. That means total port pollution should decline over time even though cargo volumes are growing, said Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

The neighboring Port of Long Beach is expected to release its 2009 emissions inventory in the next two weeks.

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bmongelluzzo@joc.com.