EPA To Consider Emission Reductions At Ports

EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC) is considering a workgroup’s novel strategy document outlining voluntary efforts to cut emissions from U.S. ports. It is likely that the program will soon be recommended to EPA for adoption.
EPA sought to assess air pollution and greenhouse gases from ports and identify voluntary measures to reduce pollutants. A port’s legal and operational systems are complex because they include port authorities, rail carriers, trucking companies, cargo owners, and a host of other stakeholders. As a result, an overall and comprehensive emissions reduction strategy was sought.
The workgroup’s main recommendation is that ports establish a voluntary environmental performance program which would achieve significant reductions in air pollution from ports’ shipping, trucking, railroads and shore infrastructure. The workgroup calls the suggested program Port Action for a Clean Environment (PACE).
PACE would:
  • develop a national ‘roadmap’ of best practices,
  • develop guidance on strategies,
  • develop alternatives for technologies that do not fit existing regulatory approval/verification processes,
  • facilitate demonstration projects
  • develop a way to verify operational efficiency improvements,
  • develop guidance on clean construction specifications, and
  • develop a method to identify high emitting vehicles and promote maintenance best practices.

PACE includes a broad definition of what constitutes a ‘port,’ which extends beyond the geographic boundaries up to where goods first come to rest and change modes of transportation. The scope of PACE is maritime activities directly related to the movement of cargo, products, or people, including those associated with either state/local public port facilities or private terminals and federal facilities as appropriate.

The workgroup’s next steps for the plan include transmitting it to the full CAAAC, then holding a presentation for the full committee in August. The workgroup will seek CAAAC ‘s input and incorporate its comments on the report. Eventually, the full CAAAC will hold a formal discussion on the draft final report and hold a vote on whether to submit final recommendations to EPA.

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