Environmental News: Media Center
ELIZABETH, N.J. (March 10, 2010) – The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Environmental Protection Agency today announced they will phase out the oldest, dirtiest diesel trucks servicing port facilities by January 1, 2011 – replacing them with cleaner vehicles that will dramatically improve the air quality in surrounding communities, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The Port Authority and EPA collaborated with NRDC, industry, labor and community groups to develop this new program that will replace 636 trucks made before 1994 that regularly service the Port of NY/NJ, starting next year. This move will cut soot pollution from these trucks by two-thirds and smog-forming pollution in half.
The program provides $28 million in joint financial assistance from EPA stimulus funds and the Port Authority to help drivers switch from their dirty, pre-1994 trucks to cleaner, more efficient vehicles. Specifically, trucks drivers will be eligible for a 25 percent grant toward the total purchase price of a replacement truck as well as low-interest financing (5.25 percent over five years) for up to 75 percent of the total purchase price.
By 2017, the program will also replace all of the more than 4,500 trucks that regularly service the port with engines made before 2007. Engines made after 2007 are certified to the EPA’s highest soot standards and are 95 percent cleaner than older trucks.
A statement follows from Richard Kassel, Director of the Clean Fuels and Vehicles Project at the NRDC and co-chair of the work group that designed the new program:
“Today we’ve launched a plan to eliminate some of the dirtiest diesels in our midst and make the port more sustainable. Nobody drives a 30-year-old truck because they like the exhaust – they drive them because they can’t afford to buy a newer truck. With this program, drivers will get the financing incentives they need to upgrade from their old, dirty diesel vehicles to newer, cleaner and more reliable trucks. This means fresher air for drivers and for neighboring communities – from Elizabeth, to Newark and New York.
“We look forward to building on today’s announcement to ensure that we’re moving goods throughout our region in the cleanest, most competitive and sustainable way possible.”
Since 1993, NRDC’s Dump Dirty Diesels Campaign has worked in New York, California and at the federal level to reduce diesel pollution. In 2004, NRDC released “Harboring Pollution,” which documented the health impacts of the trucks, ships, trains and cargo-handling equipment used to move goods. Since then, NRDC advocates have played central roles in the development of the clean truck program at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, new EPA rules governing port pollution sources, and new international rules that will reduce pollution from ocean-going ships approaching our ports.
Diesel pollution contributes to increased asthma, cancer, heart and lung disease and even premature death. New York area communities have some of the dirtiest air and highest asthma rates in the nation. In 2010, diesel soot pollution is projected to be responsible for approximately 1,400 premature deaths, 2,700 non-fatal heart attacks and 48,200 asthma attacks in the New York/Newark metropolitan area.