US ports set to benefit from EPA funding

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded funding to the Port of Providence to support emissions reductions, and will provide more than $2 million to the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) for the acquisition of a zero-emission tugboat in the Port of San Diego.

The Port of Providence, Rhode Island is one of 11 air toxics monitoring projects selected by the EPA to receive funding under the Agency’s Community-Scale Air Toxics Ambient Monitoring grants.

Under this programme, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) will receive $263,502 to monitor air toxics emissions near the Port of Providence and characterise risk to the most highly affected populations, including surrounding environmental justice areas, schools and hospitals.

‘EPA is very happy to provide these funds to boost air monitoring near the Port of Providence,’ said EPA New England Regional Administrator, Dennis Deziel. ‘EPA and RIDEM have made great strides to address concerns raised by the nearby community and expanding this air toxics monitoring program will make a significant difference to protect people’s health.’

The EPA has also awarded the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) $2.0 million to replace one Tier 2 diesel-powered tugboat, used in vessel escort operations at the Port of San Diego, with a new tugboat powered by a zero-emission electric propulsion system. The funds will be combined with $17.61 million in leveraged funds from San Diego County APCD and project partner Crowley Marine.

‘The tugboat to be replaced under this project operates full-time at the Port of San Diego, where nearby communities face significant air quality challenges,’ said West Coast Collaborative, a public-private partnership aimed at reducing diesel emissions.

‘In addition, the San Diego Air Basin remains in non-attainment for ozone. San Diego County is also designated by US EPA as an air toxics assessment area where much of the population is exposed to more than 2.0 μg/m3 of diesel particulate matter emissions,’ it added.

The tugboat to be upgraded in the project operates near the Portside Community of San Diego, which is disproportionately affected by heavy-duty diesel pollution from goods movement operations at the Port of San Diego and along nearby major transport corridors.

West Coast Collaborative claims that equipment replacements will reduce emissions of NOx by 204 tonnes, fine particulate matter by three tonnes, and carbon dioxide by 5,220 tonnes over the project lifetime. Some 44,200 gallons of diesel fuel is also expected to be saved.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry