Friday, July 10, 2009

EPA Awards Funding to Reduce Diesel Emissions - Red Hook's Cruise Terminal gets Nearly $3 Million

The good news came yesterday that the EPA, as part of a $17 million diesel pollution reduction initiative which is part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), had awarded funding to facilitate the installation of the infrastructure required to implement the use of "shore power" at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The press release that came from the EPA started as follows -

(These are the ones that seem pertinent to Red Hook's port operations)

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey – Shore Power Installation at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal ($2,858,200): This project will install the land-side electrical infrastructure necessary for cruise vessels calling at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to hook up to shore power while docked, eliminating the need to operate on-board generators. Carnival Cruise Lines has committed to use the facility.

Port Authority of New York & New Jersey – Regional Truck Replacement Program ($7,000,000): This project will replace up to 636 model year 1993 and older drayage trucks that service Port Authority facilities with cleaner, 2004 and newer model year trucks by offering truckers 25% off the cost of the newer truck.

The funds awarded by the EPA for the shore power infrastructure at Red Hook's Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will apparently supplement the roughly $3 million already committed by the Port Authority itself when it first pledged to build the infrastructure required for this practice back in January this year. (story here). Apparently the amount of money now required for construction of such infrastructure is more like $6 million.

This is obviously good news, and hopefully the extra EPA funds will help to get this work done in a timely and prudent manner. (Assuming the issue of the shore power tariff is resolved - story here).

The second piece of good news is the incentive plan for replacing older diesel trucks with new, less polluting models. This seems like it will help all the truckers serving the New York and New Jersey container ports replace pre-1993 trucks, not only the Red Hook ones, and looks similar to incentives offered on the West Coast at L.A. Ports that are instigating "clean truck" programs (see my previous post here). Whether the NY and NJ ports will put into place strict rules, as are applied in those West Coast ports, remains to be seen. It's nice to see some carrots, but perhaps some sticks will be required to get the truck upgrades and pollution reduction benefits in a reasonable time frame.

In their own press release, the Port Authority described the news of the EPA funding as follows -

A $7 million federal grant will help launch a $28 million program to replace pre-1994 trucks serving the port. The EPA grant money and an additional $21 million incentive fund from The Port Authority of NY & NJ will enable truck owners serving the port to replace their pre-1994 trucks with newer cleaner burning, less polluting vehicles.

About 16 percent of the trucks that frequently call at the port were built before 1994, and they contribute 33 percent of the fine Particulate Matter, 14 percent of the NOx and 10 percent of the Greenhouse Gas emissions each year. The program provides funding to replace an estimated 636 of these older trucks with newer vehicles, resulting in a reduction of approximately 118 tons of NOx, 14 tons of PM2.5, and 1,675 tons of Greenhouse Gases per year.

In addition to the truck program grant, the Port Authority also received $2.8 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to support the installation of a shore power system at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The Brooklyn facility would be the first on the East Coast to provide shore power for docked vessels.

The grant will help provide the infrastructure required for ships to connect to the landside electrical grid instead of running their on-board diesel engines. Carnival Cruise Lines has committed to reconfiguring two cruise vessels that frequently call at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal with the capability to receive shore power, at an estimated cost of $2 million.

This program is expected to reduce emissions from berthed cruise ships by 95.3 tons of NOx, 6.5 tons of PM, and 1,487 tons of Greenhouse Gasses each year.

One large piece of Red Hook's port emissions equation has not been addressed in this round of funding - the situation with the emissions from the container ships themselves. There is nothing here (so far) to help the initiation of the use of shore power for container ships at the Container Terminal. Hopefully the Port Authority has the wheels in motion to address this element as well - especially considering the growing awareness about the terrible toll these ships are taking on air quality and public health world-wide. Check out this story (here) in which the staggering statistic that the pollution emitted by just the world's 15 largest ships is equivalent to all - yes all - the pollution created by the world's 760 million cars.

Chris Ward, Executive Director of the Port Authority, is quoted in this press release as saying these recent commitments are an -

"important and innovative step forward in the Port Authority's ongoing efforts to be good environmental neighbors"

These initiatives announced yesterday are certainly a first step in giving validity to these words.

Hopefully there are more steps to come.

1 comment:

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