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EPA to Work with Ports to Improve Environmental Performance / Clean diesel grants and new ports initiative will advance sustainable technologies

Release Date: 04/08/2014
Contact Information: Julia P. Valentine, valentine.julia@epa.gov, 202-564-0496

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting the “Advancing Sustainable Ports” summit to mark the kickoff of a new EPA initiative to recognize ports that take action to improve environmental performance. EPA will also award $4.2 million in grant funding for clean diesel projects at six U.S. ports.

“Ports are the main gateway for U.S. trade and are critical to our country’s economic growth, yet the communities surrounding ports face serious environmental challenges,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Today we demonstrate that through collaboration and innovation we can achieve the goals of economic growth and environmental stewardship.”

Most of the country’s busiest ports are located in or near large metropolitan areas and, as a result, people in nearby communities can be exposed to high levels of pollution. For example, diesel powered port equipment can seriously impact air quality for nearby residents and generate substantial greenhouse gas and black carbon emissions. Implementing clean air strategies at ports will reduce emissions and provide health benefits from improved air quality for workers and families who live nearby.

Over the past eight months, EPA has led a national conversation on ports, which brought together a wide variety of stakeholders from community organizations, port authorities, shippers, local governments and academia for three themed webinars to share information, goals, and successes of ports in reducing emissions and improving environmental performance. Through this process, EPA set the stage for the development of a new port recognition initiative that will provide additional incentives to improve a variety of environmental issues including improving local air quality, reducing carbon emissions, and addressing environmental justice issues. In addition, EPA’s new ports initiative program will work with port authorities to develop emission measurement tools, which will help ports better understand their energy use and environmental impact.

The grants awarded today will help six ports improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, by providing $4.2 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants to retrofit, replace, or repower diesel engines resulting in immediate emissions reductions in harmful pollution. The grant recipients are the Port of Seattle, the Port of Hueneme, the Port of Tacoma, the Maryland Port Administration, the Virginia Port Authority, and the Port of Los Angeles.

More information about EPA’s National Conversation on Ports:
www.epa.gov/otaq/ports/

More information about the Port Summit:
www.epa.gov/otaq/ports/ports-summit.htm

More information on the DERA grants for ports:
www.epa.gov/otaq/ports/ports-dera-rfp.htm