EDF has a new take on the old industry adage, "if you've seen one port, you've seen one port." Our view is that "if you've cleaned up one port, you're on your way to cleaning up all ports."
EDF has identified a serious challenge: a multitude of pollution sources concentrated in communities near ports, many of which are environmental justice areas. Trucks, ships, cargo equipment, harbor vessels, and locomotives combine to emit significant amounts of harmful pollution such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.
More than 39 million people, including a disproportionate number of low-income residents and people of color, live near ports and freight hubs and are at risk of diesel pollution exposure. Diesel exhaust contributes to adverse health outcomes including asthma, lung cancer, and other respiratory diseases. Many impacted communities near ports are overburdened and face tough challenges in cleaning up their air.
Replacing old and inefficient diesel equipment is a key step in bringing cleaner air to port communities. EDF has helped drive millions of dollars' worth of funding to many port areas that needed it most – and at the same time leveraged private matching funds. This money helps replace and upgrade the oldest, most polluting equipment.
There are national efforts underway to reduce pollution at ports across the country. EPA has outlined the most effective ways to reduce pollution from all sectors of port operations. EDF made recommendations to EPA in support of this effort, and continues to advocate for a national program that provides meaningful assistance to ports to achieve vital air pollution reductions for affected communities.
The emerging goal for freight transportation, particularly at hubs like ports, is zero emissions. Key steps in reaching that important goal are new technologies and strategies that go even further than what has been achieved so far. EDF is facilitating many of these developments, including working with stakeholders nationwide to direct Volkswagen mitigation funding towards clean air projects at ports.