Posted by: philadelphiadieseldifference | October 2, 2008

L.A., Long Beach Ports Inaugurate New Anti-Smog Plan

From the Los Angeles Times:

Cargo was moving smoothly out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on the first day of the nation’s most ambitious pollution control program at a major seaport.

Although port officials estimated a 90% compliance rate of trucks meeting beefed-up pollution standards, even those lacking the required permission stickers were being allowed to move cargo. The stickers indicate the owners of diesel-powered big rigs have won approval to operate at the ports under the tougher rules.

The message at the terminal gates is we will let you in this time but don’t count on being let in again,” said Arley Baker, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles. “Our No. 1 concern is keeping the gates from becoming congested. We do not want to impede the flow of cargo in any way.”

The port gates opened at 8 a.m., and there were no reports of backups or excessive delays.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster were expected this morning to launch the Clean Trucks Program, which aims to clean up the region’s air by banning more than 2,000 dirty diesel big rigs from the nation’s busiest port complex.

Under the program’s first phase, trucks built before 1989 will be banned from the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach beginning today. When fully implemented in 2012, only trucks that meet 2007 vehicle emissions standards will be allowed to service terminals at the gateway for 40% of the nation’s imported goods.

Villaraigosa and Foster were expected to mark the unprecedented environmental achievement by officiating over the crushing and scrapping of an outlawed diesel big rig at a nearby recycling yard.

Elsewhere, port authorities were stationed throughout the sprawling twin port complex to enforce implementation of the $1.6-billion program by checking to see how many pre-1989 trucks attempt to cross vehicle registration checkpoints. They were also ensuring that required port-issued stickers were prominently displayed on windshields of trucks approved for entry.

At the Long Beach container terminal, driver Luis Kuffo, 50, of Fontana, was upset that he would not be able to work at the Port of Los Angeles any longer because he is an independent contractor and could not secure the required permission sticker under the new rules – even though his 1996 Kenworth truck meets the pollution goals.

It’s too much complicated,” Kuffo said. “This should be one harbor together, not separate plans and different rules. It’s ridiculous that I won’t be allowed to drive to the Port of Los Angeles anymore.”

The new program’s overall goal is ambitious: Clean Southern California’s air to clear the way for more than a dozen port expansion projects that were facing legal challenges because of their potential impact on the environment.

The estimated 16,700 trucks currently servicing the ports account for more smog and soot than all 6 million cars in the region, and diesel emissions spewed by big rigs cause 1,200 premature deaths annually, according to the California Air Resources Board. Asthma rates among children living in neighborhoods near the ports are double the national average. Dock workers and truck drivers face significantly higher risks of lung and throat cancer, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and local studies.

The program is a key component of the Clean Air Action Plan, which is expected to slash overall emissions at the ports by 45% by 2012.

In a prepared statement, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, whose district includes the Port of Los Angeles, said, “We are not just benefiting the communities of San Pedro and Wilmington. Everywhere these trucks go, we are cleaning up the air. By taking the dirtiest trucks off the 10, the 15, the 710 and the 60 Freeways, we are improving air quality throughout the region.”

We are also building a stable workforce for the trucking industry – the backbone of the goods movement,” she said. “We are creating good jobs for people all over Los Angeles so everyone can benefit from our international trade industry – which we know will continue to grow.”

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Responses

  1. I’m an independent carrier regestered in az. Ionly haul break bulk. I entered the port twice last year. Is there special provitions for this. also I can’t find any info on how to obtain aclean air sticker. my truck is a 93 but has a 95 computered engine.hope you can help. thanks E.Dallman


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