This year Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of its SmartWay program, a voluntary program created to help freight companies move more goods across more miles without the extra emissions. Texas boasts more than 180 SmartWay partners and affiliates, including Dell, AT&T, and BNSF Railway to name a few, that have made a commitment to improve fuel efficiency, reduce diesel consumption, and increase sustainability along transportation routes. These pledges have turned into action as SmartWay partners across the nation have saved $16.8 billion in fuel costs, reduced oil consumption by more than 120.7 million barrels, and reduced 51.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide across the nation – that’s equivalent to taking over 10 million cars off the road every year. Read More
Source: Texas Public Radio
Air pollution and sustainability may not have been hot topics for transportation professionals in the past, but they were widely discussed during the 93rd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), a conference that brings together transportation professionals from around the world. And as we have highlighted in the past, air emissions from the transportation sector are of particular concern in Texas, and many at the conference took note of the state’s progress.
For instance, one panel highlighted efforts to reduce costly cargo truck delays at various Texas-Mexico border crossings. These truck delays occur due to a myriad of reasons, including rush-hour transit times and customs issues, but a recently launched initiative known as the Border Crossing Information System, or BCIS, is aiming to shorten these delays through accurate monitoring and reporting of truck queues and, in turn, reduce harmful air emissions. Read More
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Courtesy of Juan Manuel Salazar
The following story about the clean truck program in Houston appears in the Fall 2013 issue of EDF’s Solutions newsletter. As we have highlighted before, ports are hotspots for air pollution and the best way to mitigate emissions from ships, trucks and other transportation equipment is to engage key stakeholders and find common sense solutions that provide access to cleaner, more efficient technologies. Below is a success story from Houston: Since the H-GAC Drayage Loan Program began in 2010, it has replaced almost 200 of the oldest, most polluting trucks with newer, cleaner ones.
When Juan Manuel Salazar was hauling industrial materials all over Houston in his 1989 International truck, his two daughters worried. “They were concerned about me driving all day, then working half the night to fix the truck,” Salazar says. So it was no surprise that, as an owner-operator, Salazar jumped to qualify for a combined grant and low-interest loan program tailored by EDF and its partners such as the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). Salazar invested in a cleaner 2012 Kenworth truck that uses less gas and goes farther without problems. “My daughters convinced me,” he says.
A few years before, an emissions inventory found that one-third of the toxic air pollution at the Port of Houston was spewed out by its 3,000-truck drayage fleet. The result was the loan program. Since its creation, almost 200 trucks in Houston have been updated. Read More
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Improving Texas air quality requires a broad coalition. How broad? Well, we know that much of the commerce that is transported through the state either has a foreign origin or destination. Although the delivery takes place in our backyard, many of the crucial decisions that affect that route are made elsewhere. That’s why EDF participated in the 5th Annual Forum on Supply Chain Sustainability in Buenos Aires, Argentina last week.
As the keynote speaker, I provided an overview of EDF’s vision for freight and supply chain sustainability, shared some of our clean air success stories from Houston and presented our “Five Principles for Greener Freight.” I also met with key stakeholders in the international trade and transportation sector, including the Buenos Aires Institute of Technology (ITBA), which is in the midst of developing a study center geared toward sustainable freight strategies. The forum was a tremendous learning opportunity that will enable EDF to strengthen its advocacy at home in Texas by bringing together new partners and applying key lessons from our neighbors.
Many of the challenges Houston and other port cities face in the United States are similar to those in Argentina, such as older, polluting trucks dominating short distance service, lack of sufficient data to make informed sustainability decisions and difficulty in making long-term investments for cleaner, more efficient technology upgrades. Read More
More and more companies are taking an interest in supply chain sustainability and realizing that environmental responsibility is important for business success in the U.S. and abroad. Additionally, Latin America is a key trading partner for Texas and the fastest growing trade region for the United States. It goes without saying that as trade in the Americas expands, companies, governments and organizations throughout the region should increase cooperation on freight sustainability.
Given the growing demand for green logistics, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is pleased to speak at the 5th Forum on Sustainability and Supply Chain to be held next week in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This distinctive event plays an important role in Latin America by bringing together practitioners, experts, advocates and business leaders to advance supply chain sustainability.
The forum is hosted by Foro Logística and WebPicking.com, a group that specializes in supply chain logistics in Latin America, and will take place at the Technological Institute of Buenos Aires (ITBA). We look forward to sharing our experience promoting green freight with regional partners and learning about successful strategies that can be implemented in Texas.
A couple of weeks ago, the China Green Ports Technology Reverse Trade Mission brought Chinese transportation officials to Houston to introduce them to U.S. technologies and the trade industry’s best practices to reduce ports’ environmental impact. Green port technologies are of particular interest in China, because seven of the ten largest ports in the world are located in China. The Chinese government and private sector are making efforts to modernize and strengthen China’s maritime management, while reducing its environmental footprint.
The purpose of the mission was to introduce the delegates to innovative technologies and service provider firms associated with green ports. As I spoke with the delegation, the conversation focused on many of the same efforts we are pursuing in the U.S. and right here in Texas, including:
- Reducing the environmental impact of our nation’s seaports;
- Improving the health of communities affected by port activities;
- Increasing the efficiency and sustainability of ports;
- Highlighting best management practices currently deployed at leading ports.
As we move forward with developing a port recognition system to highlight green port efforts across the nation, we know that our partners to the East are thinking likewise. We look forward to continued conversations such as these with new partners on novel technologies, continually improving port environmental impacts.
(Source: Getty Images)
We at EDF have written a lot about the need to transform the nation’s aging electricity system. Now, more than ever, we have to transition away from fossil fuel electricity to reduce our out-of-control greenhouse gas emissions. With renewables poised to make up a quarter of the world’s electricity mix by 2018, it appears we’re making steady progress toward a modern, clean energy grid.
But there’s another global energy system that’s often overlooked: the transportation system. An overwhelming majority of the world’s transportation infrastructure is powered by fossil fuels. Ordinary passenger vehicles, short and long-haul trucks, freight rail, and large cargo ships are all fueled by petroleum. And unlike the grid, we’re still far from transitioning to a clean alternative.
EDF has spearheaded a number of initiatives to help reduce the environmental impact of transportation. Last month, we released a request for proposals for a marine port environmental recognition program. The program will help establish performance benchmarks for ports, so that we can identify and acknowledge those ports making strides toward reducing emissions and improving air quality. EDF is also part of the brain trust of organizations, such as the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board, working to understand the best practices to modernize the global transportation system and reduce transportation’s environmental footprint. Read More
Recent years have seen significant changes in the global freight and supply chain system. An expanded Panama Canal, significant population growth in the South and Southeast, and new infrastructure and system resiliency demands pose a challenge to our aging freight transportation system. It is crucial for researchers, policy makers and practitioners to work together and prioritize research to overcome these new challenges. Fortunately, the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) is working with stakeholders, including EDF, to advance critical research efforts that will help modernize the global transportation system.
Earlier this month, TRB reviewed ongoing research for marine and freight transportation. In doing so, TRB also established priorities for future studies, with an overarching goal to “promote innovation and progress in transportation.” EDF will partner with TRB to champion innovative research and facilitate a transition to cleaner and more efficient marine and freight transportation choices going forward.
Texas faces many pressing transportation issues of its own. Record traffic growth, rapid expansion at the Port of Houston, booming population growth across the state, and a flurry of oil and gas drilling activity all pose unique infrastructure and air quality challenges to the Lone Star State.
A key transportation challenge faced by Texas is congestion at its U.S.-Mexico border crossings. Emissions from idling trucks at crowded border crossings have brought air pollution concerns in border cities such as El Paso and Laredo. The Texas Department of Transportation is collaborating with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to develop a tool to help streamline border crossings. The Border Crossing Information System provides drivers, carriers and other stakeholders with real-time and historical information about border crossing wait-times and delays. The data make it easy for truck drivers to understand congestion patterns, thereby reducing vehicle idling and harmful air emissions. Read More
Also posted in Air Pollution, Environment, Houston, Ports, Transportation
Tagged air quality, Border, Emissions, Ozone, ports, Texas, Transportation, Transportation Research Board
The Houston-Galveston Area Council’s (H-GAC) Clean Cities Coalition and Clean Vehicles programs will host a clean fleet conference on June 5th in Sugar Land, Texas.
Dedicated to helping transportation fleets conserve fuel and reduce air pollution through the use of alternative fuels, technologies, and retrofits, this year's conference features engaging discussion from industry, academic and governmental experts on varied topics, such as:
- Creating a Clean, Sustainable Fleet
- Growth of Alternative Fuel Fleets and Infrastructure Networks
- Transitioning Your Fleet to Alternative Fuels
- On the Road: One Fleet and Multiple Fuels
- Driving Ahead: Alternative Refueling Infrastructure
- Texas’ Alternative Fuel Advantage
Dan Frakes, manager of Advanced Technology and Vehicle Fuels Policy for the Public Policy Center of General Motors, is the keynote speaker. Vic LaRosa, president of TTSI, an EPA SmartWay truck company at the Port of Houston, is speaking as well. Vic’s company is one of the partners in Houston’s hydrogen fuel cell electric hybrid truck demonstration project. Read More
Thanks to funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) and some committed regional stakeholders that include Houston Galveston Area Council (HGAC), Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI), Air Products, Vision Industries, and EDF, 20 dirty, diesel powered heavy duty trucks, the ones carrying large containers, will be replaced with zero-emission TYRANO™ hydrogen fuel cell-electric trucks. The DOE granted HGAC $3.4 million in funding to launch a zero emission engine technology demonstration project – the largest of its kind- at the Port of Houston Authority (PHA), where heavy duty trucks are projected to account for almost half of all port emissions by 2015.
Expected emission reductions from the project include 39 tons of nitrogen oxides and 0.8 tons of particulate matter per year. This award is especially timely as the Houston area is on the verge of a non-attainment designation with the newly strengthened particulate matter standard and still struggles to meet the national ambient air quality standard for ozone. In addition to reductions of criteria air pollutants, the demo will enable the displacement of 200,000 gallons of diesel annually (equivalent to reducing 2,180 tons of CO2).
Historically speaking, the cargo transport sector has been confined to older, dirtier diesel engines. This award signifies a positive step forward in demonstrating a new technology for the freight sector. The trucks are expected to be rolled out later this year, and will be fueled with hydrogen locally sourced from natural gas feedstock.
In addition, over 80 percent of the truck components will be built and assembled right here in America. Clean air and clean energy for a better economy makes for a triple win.