Thursday, December 12, 2013

Live in a port community? The EPA wants you to breathe cleaner air

Photo: Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

Most of America's busiest shipping ports are located near large metropolitan areas. That may be ideal for the transport business, but it's generally bad for area residents.

Transport means diesel pollution, which is linked to a range of serious health problems including asthma, lung and heart disease and even premature death. That's why the EPA says they've put aside four million dollars in grant money to reduce diesel emissions from marine and inland water ports.

The agency says the main problem is older diesel engines that emit large amounts of air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter (PM). They hope the grants for "clean diesel projects" will make immediate emissions reductions and provide health benefits.

“Ports are essential to the nation’s economy and transportation infrastructure, but they also are home to some of the nation’s toughest environmental challenges,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “These grants will help port authorities to provide immediate emissions reductions that will benefit those who work and live in port-side communities.”

This grant competition is available under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) Program and is the first grant competition to focus on solely reducing emissions at ports. Projects may include a wide range of port-polluting equipment including drayage trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and cargo handling equipment. The EPA says priority will be given to ports located in areas of poor air quality.

What do you think? Do these projects make a difference?


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