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Port Plan Targets Diesel Trucks

November 9, 2006

The entire fleet of aging diesel trucks that are a leading cause of unhealthful air around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would be replaced, at industry cost if necessary, according to the final draft of a $2-billion plan to reduce pollution, the Los Angeles Times reports.The plan aims to cut pollution from ships, trains, terminal equipment and harbor craft by 45 percent. The 16,000 trucks, many owned and operated by low-income immigrant workers, would be replaced within five years under the terms of the plan. The port commissions are scheduled to vote on adoption of the plan Nov. 20, according to the Los Angeles Times.Possible sources of funds to replace the trucks include pollution-based impact fees, such as gate fees assessed on 'dirty' trucks, tariff-based incentives and requirements, such as vessel speed reduction incentives and port-mandated fuel requirements, to curb harmful air emissions, according to port officials.Officials emphasize that the plan would not target the truck drivers, who are on the bottom rung of the multibillion-dollar cargo industry at the two ports, the nation's busiest.The plan also calls for increased use of electricity to power international marine vessels at dock, rather than leaving dirty engines idling, and for improved emission standards in the harbor area to reduce health risks posed by air pollution from port-related activities.
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