EDF Highlights Clean Ports Progress – Starting with Houston

This week, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) hosted the Energy and Environment Seminar in Chicago, an important event for environmental advocacy efforts with ports across the country. And Houston will take center stage in the ports world this November when the city hosts the AAPA annual meeting in conjunction with the Houston Ship Channel’s 100th anniversary.

EDF participated in this important seminar and discussed how ports can engage effectively with environmental groups to address environmental concerns. Our presentation focused on the “value add” that environmental organizations can provide to ports, specifically in three key areas:

  • research
  • grants & technology advancement
  • policy development

Some of the panels at this seminar included:

  • Energy Technology Deployment
  • Sustainable Design Guidelines
  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
  • Emerging Technologies and Strategies for Emission Reductions
  • Environmental Benefits of Transportation Planning & Future Freight Policy
  • Moving Forward with Local Support: The Importance of Engaging Successfully with Local Environmental Groups
  • Environment Performance Metrics for Ports
  • Energy Project Financing

In the past several years, EDF has filled several data gaps in air quality research in the transportation sector. We have published peer-reviewed reports on the air quality impact of the Panama Canal expansion and examined the effectiveness of voluntary clean truck programs. We’ve also helped to bring resources to the Houston area and advocated for policies that drive air pollution reductions from the transportation sector, including adoption of the Emission Control Area (ECA) as well as the upcoming phase II heavy duty diesel rules expected in March of 2015.

In addition, EDF has been working to increase communication regarding Houston port issues with environmental justice groups. In May 2014, EDF joined Houston area environmental justice leaders in an important event to share best practices, highlight critical issues, and expand the network of environmental advocates. Specifically, this workshop helped increase the sharing of information with regard to ongoing efforts with the Port of Houston Authority.

Seminars and workshops like these help build a knowledge base and a network for reducing emissions and protecting public health in and near ports. Looking to the future, EDF anticipates that ports and environmental groups will have to work more collaboratively to address key environmental issues, and we are ready to find the solutions that work.

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