The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced agreements with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and port terminal operators that will cut harmful air pollution from the Port of New York and New Jersey. Under the agreements, the port authority, APM Terminals North America, Maher Terminals and Port Newark Container Terminals will reduce truck idling at the port of Newark and take other actions to reduce harmful air pollution from diesel exhaust.
The port authority’s actions will include providing funding for truck owner-operators to replace their old trucks serving the port with newer, less-polluting trucks, and placing anti-idling signs on port roadways. The port authority will also provide funding up to $1.5 million (if approved by its Board of Commissioners) for terminal operators who connect their cargo handling equipment to alternative sources of power such as electricity. In addition, the port authority will assist the truck operators to create a system to manage truck traffic to further reduce air pollution.
“Diesel pollution from idling trucks can make people sick and damage the environment. It is imperative that trucks, especially in heavily congested port areas, reduce idling,” said Judith Enck, EPA regional administrator. “The children of Newark suffer from asthma at a rate three times higher than the state average. These agreements should help relieve that burden.”
The terminal operators will provide anti-idling instructions at gate entrances, install anti idling signs, and undertake a variety of additional driver education efforts to reduce idling. The three major terminal operators also will provide a total of $600,000 to the city of Newark, to be used to pay for green infrastructure projects in areas that are most impacted by air pollution from port operations. These projects may include vegetative barriers, plantings, and landscaping. The Newark metropolitan area has unhealthy air that does not meet air quality standards for smog. Smog and diesel exhaust particles pose serious health risks, including aggravating the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory problems.
Under New Jersey state law, diesel-powered motor vehicles are generally prohibited from idling for more than three consecutive minutes when they are not in motion.
The EPA appreciates the valuable support provided in this instance by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey and the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA also recently proposed new fuel efficiency rules for heavy-duty trucks; took the first step toward cutting harmful airplane emissions; is tackling methane emissions from new oil and gas operations, and is releasing Clean Power Plan regulations this summer to cut carbon emissions from this country’s fossil fuel power plants.
To learn more about EPA’s efforts to reduce air pollution in New York and New Jersey or to obtain the full text of the agreements, visit www.epa.gov/region02/air.