Monday, March 15, 2010

Port Authority banned old trucks - but will that be enough?

Last week we posted about a nationwide effort to reduce port emissions and referenced a NY Times article on the topic. What we failed to mention is that on that same day the Port Authority of NY and NJ announced that they would be banning all Pre-1994 trucks as of January 2011 (trucks made before 1994 are the most polluting).

While most will applaud the new policy's effects on our local air quality, many feel that it could have gone a few steps further.

Amy Goldsmith, the Chair of the Coalition for Healthy Ports and Executive Director of the New Jersey Environmental Federation released a statement that explains how this policy doesn't eliminate enough of the polluting trucks on the road and places too much of the upgrade burden on truck drivers and taxpayers.

Some quotes from her statement are below. Read it in its entirety here via Fox Business.

"While we look forward to next year's official retirement of dirty trucks built before 1994, it will account for less than 10 percent of the total port trucking fleet - leaving thousands of toxic spewing diesel trucks on the road......

"Under the current plan individual truck drivers, precariously employed under the guise of 'independent contractor' by their companies, will be required to assume massive debt to purchase cleaner trucks in order to continue working at the port. These individual loans, subject to qualification and good credit, will be subsidized by more than $28 million in grants and loans funded by taxpayer dollars........

"The only solution to the problem of bad jobs and dirty air at our nation's ports is the Clean Truck Program enacted in 2008 by the Port of Los Angeles, which provided economic incentives for trucking companies to purchase clean fleets. Unfortunately the American Trucking Association sued to stop this highly successful program, simultaneously obstructing similar comprehensive efforts in New York and New Jersey.

"The Coalition for Healthy Ports will continue to advocate for a sustainable Clean Truck Program. We join the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in its call on Congress to update outdated law to ensure ports around the country have the clear authority to implement 21st Century policies that will protect the environment and public health, reduce security risks and create American middle-class jobs."

Adam Armstrong of the local blog "A View From the Hook" also commented, as he has in the past, that these policies need to address not only the trucks but the ships as well. Read his informative and extensive post about ship pollution here.

While any reduction in emissions is a good thing, its a shame that there isn't consensus as to how this should be achieved and that better solutions seem to be available.

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