Houston partnerships pay off…again!

Clean Houston 4.30.15

Partnering for clean air in Houston (Roger Guenther, Port of Houston; Gina McCarthy, EPA; Janiece Longoria, Port of Houston; Jack Steele, Houston-Galveston Area Council; Elena Craft, EDF)

In our efforts to improve air quality in Texas, we often work with diverse partners on projects that deliver emission reductions or bring clean technologies to market.  We help pursue funding opportunities for projects whenever we can, to ensure that that they have the resources they need for success.  So we are pleased to report two successful awards funded from the EPA to reduce emissions from drayage trucks operating at the Port of Houston. Nearly $2 million in federal funding, along with more than $2.5 million in local funds, will be used to clean up some of the dirtiest vehicles operating at the port – drayage trucks.

  • The first project is a partnership between the Port of Houston Authority and the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) to replace 14 drayage trucks that carry containers and other cargo to and from the port.
  • The second project will be administered directly by the Port of Houston Authority. Two companies that operate at the port, Richardson Companies and Gulf Winds, will replace 25 drayage trucks from their existing fleets.

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Funded through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act, these projects will provide grants for the purchase of clean, newer model trucks, in exchange for destroying an old drayage truck. These trucks are part of the more than 3,000-drayage-truck fleet that contributes to more than 35 percent of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 12 percent of the particulate pollution from port activities.

Impacts from port activities and goods movement on communities have been a priority of current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who traveled to the Port of Houston to make the announcement.  EDF’s own Elena Craft also spoke at the event on the importance of clean air partnerships in ensuring that all residents have healthy air to breathe.

What does this mean to Houston’s air quality?

These projects are clean air victories for the Houston region in several important ways:

  • First, the projects will target the oldest, dirtiest trucks operating at the port. We estimate reductions of more than 230 tons of harmful air pollutants (as a reminder, 230 tons is a lot of emissions – you can think of it as equivalent to the weight of almost three dozen African elephants!)
  • Second, the project is the most recent in a multi-year partnership to bring funding to the Houston region to improve air quality. To date, EDF’s work partnering with the Port of Houston and H-GAC has resulted in more than $17 million in successful federal grants awarded over the past six years for emissions reduction projects. The commitment by each partner and our experience working together over the years have been critical to being able to implement these important projects, as well as quickly pursue new opportunities that arise.
  • Third, the project continues the momentum that is needed to help Texas address its current air quality challenges in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria and Dallas-Fort Worth regions in meeting national health-based air quality standards.

We are proud of these recent awards that will help bring cleaner, healthier air to Houston. We know that there is much more to do, however, and we remind Texas legislators to fully support (and fully fund) cost-effective diesel emissions reduction initiatives, such as the successful Texas Emissions Reduction Plan.

EDF is committed to working with our partners in Houston, as well as across Texas and the nation, to find ways to reduce emissions and improve efficiency at ports and other goods movement centers, like rail yards and distribution centers.

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