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AQMD Approves Clean Air Plan Amendment to Ensure Ports Meet Clean Air Goals

February 5, 2013

The region’s clean air agency has approved a control measure to ensure that the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach meet their voluntary commitments to reducing air pollution from ships, trucks, trains and other equipment.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Board approved the measure, which in turns calls for the development of a proposed regulation that would take effect only if the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach fail to meet emission reduction targets needed to achieve federal health standards for fine particulates (PM2.5) by 2015.

“The ports have made substantial progress in reducing emissions from their operations,” said William A. Burke, Ed.D., AQMD’s Governing Board Chairman. “This action simply ensures that if the ports’ voluntary pollution reductions don’t occur on time, AQMD’s regulation will require them to develop additional measures to address the shortfall.”

Under AQMD’s measure, approved on Feb. 1, any additional port emission-reductions must be technically feasible, cost-effective and within the legal authority of the ports. Such measures potentially could include clean technology funding programs and lease agreements designed by the ports.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach comprise the largest marine port complex in North America as well as the No. 1-emitting facility in the Southland. Existing voluntary emission reduction commitments for nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and PM2.5 in the ports’ Clean Air Action Plan are key to the region meeting its clean air goals.

The so-called “backstop” measure now will be included in AQMD’s 2012 Air Quality Management Plan. The plan is a detailed blueprint for achieving federal health standards for PM2.5 in the Southland by 2015. It also includes an update on progress towards reducing ground-level ozone to help meet the ozone standard by 2024.

In other action on Feb. 1, the AQMD Board approved $34.6 million in co-funding to help Metrolink replace 20 older “Tier 0” diesel locomotives with newer, cleaner “Tier 4” locomotives. (Tier 0 locomotives are the oldest and dirtiest and Tier 4 models are the cleanest available). In addition, AQMD will work with Metrolink and others to develop and demonstrate liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueled passenger locomotives.

“This funding is the first of its kind to a local agency to purchase the cleanest locomotives available,” said Burke. “Once deployed, the public health benefits will be significant for the Southland.”

The funding is expected to result in a reduction of about 231.2 tons per year of nitrogen oxide emissions and 7.3 tons per year of particulate matter pollution.

Deployment of the first three cleaner locomotives is expected in the latter half of 2015. Funding comes from the Carl Moyer Program.

AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

This page updated: February 06, 2013