Photo by John Schreiber.

Clean air met economic worries at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Wednesday when a new environmental protection plan was unveiled, even though unionized truck drivers had already expressed skepticism.

“These ports are going where no port has gone before,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in praising the new anti-smog plan. “Based on what we’ve already accomplished to promote healthy, robust trade through our gateway, we’re ready to make history again, looking at a new array of technologies and strategies to further lower port-related emissions in the decades ahead.”

Although the general goals of the new plan were announced last month and praised by environmentalists, more than 100 truck drivers and port workers went on a week-long strike at the time.

“We support clean air, but there was no mention on how this Clean Air Action Plan would impact the drivers. We are concerned about who will end up paying for it,” Eric Tate, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 848, said in June.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach Wednesday released the draft of their proposed 2017 Clean Air Action Plan Update, opening up for public review a document that sets aggressive pollution reduction goals for the busiest harbor complex in the country.

The ports adopted the Clean Air Action Plan in 2006 and updated it in 2010. The proposed update includes goals recently set by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia to move to zero-emission trucks and yard equipment by 2035.

The public review and comment period on the proposed update runs through Sept. 18, and the ports will also hold a public workshop at Banning’s Landing Community Center on Aug. 30.

Among the updates in the proposed 2017 CAAP is a new goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

“Working closely with all our partners has been crucial to our success. That same collaboration went into the development of the 2017 CAAP and will be indispensable going forward,” Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said. “Since 2006, the Clean Air Action Plan has been a model for programs to reduce health risks and air quality impacts from port operations worldwide. We remain committed to being leaders in seaport sustainability.”

Among the key details of the plan:

— The estimated cost of the update would be between $7 billion and $14 billion, and the draft plan calls for the ports to intensify their funding advocacy and increase financial collaboration with their partners to help pay for it.

— Starting in 2018, the ports would phase in clean engine standards for new trucks entering the port drayage registries followed by a truck rate structure that encourages the use of near-zero and zero emissions trucks.

— The ports would implement a universal truck appointment system for the entire complex, expand the use of on-dock rail, and develop charging standards for electric cargo handling equipment.

— The ports would reduce idling, support the state’s efforts to transition terminal equipment to zero emissions by 2030, update the Vessel Speed Reduction Program, expand the use of state-approved alternative technologies to reduce at-berth emissions, and encourage clean technology upgrades on ships to attract the cleanest vessels to the ports.

—City News Service

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