Texas Clean Air Matters

Selected tag(s): Port of Houston

New Guide Helps Ports and Terminals Clean the Air and Save Energy

A new EDF guide shows ways  Ports and Terminals can save energy and clean up the air.

A new EDF guide shows ways ports and terminals can save energy and clean up the air.

The freight transportation industry is growing – and so is interest in adopting environmentally-friendly green freight approaches.

That’s why EDF is proud to release its new Clean Air Guide for Ports & Terminals: Technologies and Strategies to Reduce Emissions and Save Energy. The guide highlights institutional frameworks, technology upgrades, and operational improvements that have been effective in reducing energy use and harmful emissions from the freight industry. Landlord ports, operating ports, and marine terminal operators will all find models of initiatives they can implement at their own facilities. Community and advocacy groups also can identify best practices in the industry and work with their port partners to collaboratively implement some of these strategies at a nearby terminal. Read More »

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New Funds Bring New Hope for Cleaner Houston Air

Photo by Dan Kamminga. Some tugboats slated to receive new engines are more than 30 years old.

We are pleased to hear the news about possible new funds coming to Houston to help improve air quality.

Under the National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program, Region 6 of the Environmental Protection Agency recently recommended two Houston-based grant proposals for full funding:

  1. With a grant proposal titled “Clean Vessels for Texas Waters Part 1: Mostly Main Engines,” the Houston-Galveston Area Council asked for replacement of six main engines and one generator engine for local tug/tow boats.
  2. The Port of Houston proposal requested funds for fuel switching, which involves oceangoing vessels switching to cleaner, low sulfur fuels.

While the proposals have yet to be finalized, the EPA recommendations for full funding represent an important step toward an actual offer.

How Reducing Diesel Engine Emissions Helps
Public health is the number one reason we continually seek ways to reduce diesel engine emissions. According to the EPA, air pollution is linked to a number of health problems including: Read More »

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Guest Author Says Education Key to Solving Air Quality Issues

Deiedre Wright volunteers for Environmental Community Advocates of Galena Park to improve air quality for its residents.

There are more than 10,000 people living in Galena Park, an area on the north bank of the Houston Ship Channel, just east of the Houston City limits. Having lived there for 30 years, I have seen and personally experienced some of the worst air pollution in our state.

Yes, we live in an area known for its toxic industrial emissions and no, many do not have the luxury of moving, even though we are exposed daily to air that may be harmful to our health (Note: The median household income is around $31,000 per year.).

I’m not an air quality expert, but have learned over time that more could be done to improve the air we breathe in our community. My thoughts include:

  • More monitoring: In our area, there is a great need more air testing sites directly across from the ship channel. The closest monitoring site to Galena Park is more than a mile away from offending chemical plants and 18-wheeler traffic. I’ve never really understood the logic for this. If there is a need to know about Galena Park air quality, shouldn’t the monitors be in Galena Park?
  • More city action: Our city needs to do more to deter industry from harming citizens. Perhaps 18-wheeler traffic could be re-routed from the main street going through Galena Park. The trucks use that street as an entry point to the Port of Houston. Particulate matter could be reduced significantly should they be diverted onto a different road within the Port of Houston.
  • More industry action: Many of us believe that the most-profitable petrochemical companies do the least to truly help the communities they occupy. Whatever happened to giving back to your community?
  • More soil testing: Another concern is for those who plant vegetable gardens in their backyards or elsewhere within the community. The soil is not being tested for contaminants prior to planting and the result could be a non-healthy solution to what people may think is a healthy alternative.

Finally, more education is needed to raise awareness of these air quality issues. When communities are more informed, they come together to help find and demand solutions.

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Houston Truck Fair Highlights Win for Truckers, Clean Air

This guest post was written by EDF Houston Clean Air Associate Alesha Herrera.

At last Saturday’s Port of Houston Drayage Truck Fair, drivers learned about new vehicle funding opportunities while I learned that they really do appreciate the win-win aspects of getting newer trucks making them more marketable to employers, while also helping the environment.

Representatives from the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and the Port of Houston offered information and answered questions about regional and statewide Clean Truck Programs aimed at giving Port of Houston truck drivers grants and low-interest loans to help in the purchase of newer, cleaner vehicles. These programs are among many efforts by EDF, HGAC and the Port Authority to tackle one of the largest sources of air pollution in the port area: short-haul trucks.

The Drayage Truck Fair featured new trucks on display, truck dealers offering special discounts, meet-and-greets with program representatives, and family fun with background music from a local radio station and food being cooked up around the field. Thanks to media and blog interest from The Journal of Commerce, The Baytown Sun, Overdrive.online, and RoadProServices.com, more than 150 truckers and their families attended the event. Read More »

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New Video Helps Drive Message to Port Truckers

Last May I wrote about efforts to clean up air pollution at our nation’s ports, starting with trucks doing business in and around the Port of Houston. Given that the Houston truck program offers the best incentives of any clean truck program around the country, we wanted to highlight the program and share some of the success stories with the help of a video.

This program, administered by the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), leverages state grant money from the Texas Emission Reduction Program with federal money to offer incentives for truckers to get into newer, cleaner trucks. While the program is targeted to truckers who operate at the port, any driver who operates the majority of time within the Houston area may be eligible. Read More »

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