December 8, 2005
SACRAMENTO -- The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today adopted two measures that will greatly reduce emissions from activities related to moving goods into and out of California. Aimed specifically at curbing emissions from port-based cargo-handling equipment and diesel engines used to produce electric power on ocean-going vessels, the measures will reduce the exposure of coastal and port community residents to harmful air pollutants.
"We recognize the economic importance of the goods movement industry to our state, but we must ensure that trade is conducted in a manner that protects public health," said Acting ARB Chairman, Barbara Riordan. "We are examining all aspects of this issue to assure that we protect air quality. Our efforts today will help to lessen the health risks associated with breathing the polluted air in communities near ports and rail yards, many of which are busy 24 hours a day moving cargo in and out of our state."
Today, the Board adopted two regulations to reduce emissions of diesel particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Both rules are the first of their kind in the nation. The first controls emissions from mobile cargo handling equipment such as yard trucks and forklifts that operate at ports and intermodal rail yards. It is expected to reduce diesel PM emissions by 690 tons and NOx emissions by 19,000 tons between 2007 and 2020. These reductions will occur in areas near ports and rail yards, areas where emissions have significant impact on nearby communities. The regulation calls for the replacement or retrofit of existing engines with ones that use Best Available Control Technology (BACT), and will require, beginning January 1, 2007, that newly purchased, leased, or rented cargo handling equipment limit PM and NOx to very low levels.
Exposure to high levels of diesel PM has been shown to cause lung cancer as well as lung and cardiovascular conditions that increase the risk of premature death. NOx is a key ingredient of ozone, which is a precursor of smog. The ARB has identified diesel particulate as a toxic air contaminant, which is responsible for approximately 70 percent of the airborne toxic risk in California.
In the second action, the Board adopted a regulation to reduce emissions of diesel PM, NOx, and sulfur oxides (SOx) from the use of auxiliary diesel engines and diesel-electric engines operated on ocean-going vessels located within California waters. Auxiliary engines provide electric power which is used to provide lighting, cooling and on-board power for navigation equipment. Some vessels, principally cruise ships, also use these engines to run large electric motors that propel the vessel.
Reductions will be accomplished through the use of cleaner burning marine distillate fuels or equally effective emission controls. The regulation is expected to yield immediate emission reductions upon implementation in 2007. Specifically, for the nearly 75 percent of vessels now using heavy fuel oil in their auxiliary engines, compliance with this measure will result in an estimated 75 percent reduction in diesel PM, 80 percent reduction in SOx, and 6 percent reduction in NOx. Between 2007 and 2020, it is expected to reduce diesel PM emissions by more than 23,000 tons, NOx by 15,000 tons and SOx by 200,000 tons.
"Goods movement," the term applied to the transport of commodities and merchandise, is a cornerstone of California's economy, accounting for more than $200 billion per year of the state's economic activity and producing more than $16 billion in annual tax revenues to state and local government. However, this trade comes at a price. A recent study conducted by the ARB concluded that, for the current year, pollution from the international goods movement is estimated to be responsible for 750 of California's estimated 9,000 annual premature deaths associated with air pollution.
The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.