Tuesday, March 10, 2015

National Ports Initiative

EPA Subcommittee Seeks to Identify and Control Sources of Port Pollution 
Across the United States more than 150 deep channel sea ports serve our nation. These economic engines of commerce support hundreds of thousands of jobs and act as the conduit for the import and export of essential (and some not so essential) goods.
Across the West Coast, the major container ports are slowly beginning to dig out from the backlog created during the ILWU and PMA negotiations. Unfortunately, it will be months before the terminals will be back to “normal” operations. But, for anyone in the port trucking community, “normal” leaves much to be desired.
The labor slowdown merely highlighted issues that dray men and women have endured for years; congestion, equipment shortages, extended turn times all of which limit productivity and essentially cost everyone. With the ports in the national spotlight as of late, it would only seem fitting that the EPA would want to highlight the work it is doing via subcommittee to tackle emissions at ports across the country. The overall effort is referred to as the National Port Initiative which will seek to define emission and sources at ports across the country.

Primarily the group is relying on the Mobile Source Technical Review Subcommittee Port Work Group to come up with strategies for regulatory development and enforcement, community engagement and identification of barriers to technology deployment and how to remove those barriers.

The subcommittee does mention voluntary actions for ports, but a voluntary program on the federal level can become a local mandate with the stroke of a pen. The first step is establishing emissions inventories or at least best practices; tactics will be recommended for reductions, and those ports with the most need for emissions reductions will need to embark on a program to reduce.

Granted, there are many different strategies that can be deployed for emissions reductions within port complexes. It will be expected however, that operational issues won’t be addressed and instead technology forcing or behavior modification will be the driving force for emissions reductions across the country.  

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