Over more than a decade, taxpayers have forked out millions of dollars to pay for environmentally friendly equipment to help improve the air quality around the nation’s busiest ports.
Many of the exhaust-spewing vehicles chugging into coastal cargo hubs at Los Angeles and Long Beach have disappeared, replaced with cleaner-burning alternatives. Pollutant levels have plummeted. And visits to the hospital for asthma have declined.
Despite all the improvement, the port corridor remains the largest stationary source of pollution in the region.
Officials are working on an update to their decade-old anti-pollution strategy, which they credit with helping to cut harmful diesel particulate matter linked to respiratory ailments by 85 percent.
The draft of the update, released in November, proposed a reduction in greenhouse gases to levels 80 percent below 1990 rates by 2050. Officials also want to slash emissions from ships and cargo-moving equipment such as cranes and forklifts.
The draft, however, rankled the very people who for more than a decade have been cleaning up the port.
Industry is weary of any new rules that will empty out its pocketbooks — such as a proposal that could place a fee on older trucks that call at the ports.
The biggest riddle for ports to solve arguably isn’t the heavy equipment on the docks. It’s the endless parade of big rigs that pick up containers from port terminals and deliver them to acres of warehouses in the Inland Empire and beyond.
Those heavy-duty vehicles — carrying televisions, clothing, auto parts and a wide array of consumer goods — contribute the largest share of the smog-forming nitrogen oxide and greenhouse gasses emitted near the coastal cargo centers.
Read the whole story in the Long Beach Press-Telegram