Plan calls for L.A., Long Beach ports to go to zero-emissions technology

By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times.

The nation’s largest port complex will seek to slash air pollution and health risks to Southern Californians by replacing diesel trucks and cargo equipment with zero-emissions technology over the next two decades, according to a plan released Wednesday.

The Long Beach and Los Angeles ports’ Clean Air Action Plan aims to further reduce health-damaging and planet-warming emissions at the sprawling hub for thousands of freight-moving trucks, trains and ships — at a projected cost of up to $14 billion in public and private funds.

The blueprint comes more than a decade after the ports pioneered a major greening of their operations by phasing out the dirtiest sources of diesel pollution. But it marks the beginning of a larger, more significant transformation: the shift away from the internal combustion engine entirely.

Despite steep reductions in diesel emissions over the last decade, progress has tapered off recently, and the ports remain Southern California’s largest single source of air pollution. Their operations are fueled by international trade that has nearly tripled the volume of shipping containers moving through the complex since the mid-1990s. 

Emissions from moving all those products and goods worsen smog as far away as the Inland Empire — and afflict residents in harbor-area communities with higher asthma rates and cancer risk in what has been labeled the “diesel death zone.”