Mayors tout diesel emission reduction plan

Oct. 2, 2009 at 11:06 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- A program to replace old cargo trucks at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., is so successful, the mayors say it could end ahead of schedule.

The cities' leaders said the phase-out of the year-old program already has delivered cleaner air to neighborhoods that have been blanketed by fumes, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

New, low-emission rigs account for about a third of trucks hauling cargo to and from the complexes, which officials said Thursday could reduce diesel truck emissions at both ports by 80 percent by the end of 2010 -- a year ahead of schedule.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the program reduced diesel truck emissions at the city's port by 70 percent compared with levels in 2007, and 5,500 of the 14,000 trucks visiting the port are low-emission rigs. Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said his city's port has roughly the same number of clean trucks operating.

"This is the most successful effort to clean a port in the world," Villaraigosa said. "Nobody thought it was possible to retrofit 5,000 trucks in a year, and we're at 5,500 and growing."

Villaraigosa and Foster announced the figures during a news conference Thursday at the Long Beach port, when U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced $26.5 million in federal grants would be awarded to clean air programs across Southern California.

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