Funding to incentivize the replacement of older equipment and vehicles is one of the best tools that we have in the clean air toolbox for reducing dangerous diesel emissions from heavy-duty trucks and equipment. Whether through national programs like the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) or Texas’ own Texas Emission Reduction Plan, there are funding sources available to help ports and other goods movement facilities replace older, high-polluting engines with newer, cleaner ones.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has been a strong advocate of these programs, and a committed partner to ports to assist in the development of clean air projects. For example, earlier this year EDF helped two projects at the Port of Houston secure nearly two million dollars of DERA funds to replace 39 trucks diesel trucks operating at the port.
And earlier this month, the Maryland Ports Authority (MPA) announced an award of almost $900,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help replace 25 drayage trucks at the Port of Baltimore. These grant funds, awarded under the DERA, will provide much-needed funding to address legacy diesel emissions from heavy-duty trucks that service the seven MPA marine terminals.
Since drayage trucks are often some of the oldest (and most polluting) trucks in operation, the Maryland initiative is a significant opportunity to reduce their pollution. The project anticipates reductions of more than 30 tons of nitrogen oxides and more than one ton of particulate matter. Both of these substances are harmful to health, linked to cardiopulmonary conditions like asthma and other respiratory diseases.
Bringing home good ideas to Texas
As part of the Port of Baltimore’s announcement, the Maryland Secretary of the Environment, the Maryland Department of Transportation, and the Port came together to solidify an agreement to pursue meaningful sustainability projects together. This unique partnership will allow each organization to benefit from the combined expertise and efforts of individuals across multiple agencies that are committed to a greener Port of Baltimore. This partnership represents a model for how other ports across the nation might work with state agencies to be more environment-friendly. We applaud the Port of Baltimore’s efforts in partnering with others in crafting this unique agreement, and look forward to fresh ideas and creative opportunities in the years ahead.
New opportunities on the way
DERA funding is one of the best tools we have to clean up dirty diesel emissions at ports. And with a new round of DERA funds expected in early 2016, EDF wants to help ports secure more of it. We have already assisted ports in securing nearly $21 million in DERA grants to projects around the country. Let us know how we can share our skills and expertise in developing proposals that bring cleaner, healthier air to port communities.