Coalition President Thomas Lawson led local elected officials and community leaders in a press conference Oct. 18 to urge the San Pedro Bay ports commissioners to adopt the Advanced Clean Trucks Now Plan, which is more aggressive than the ports’ current Clean Air Action Plan update.
“The ACT Now Plan accelerates the ports’ Clean Air Action Plan by requiring a 100 percent zero- and near-zero-emission port fleet by 2023, which would reduce annual NOx emissions from the ports by 99 percent,” said Lawson.
“The ACT Now plan advocates for the use of all proven zero- and near-zero-emission technologies and fuels—including RNG, battery electric, and hydrogen fuel cell electric—to meet California’s air quality goals,” he added.
Lawson invited attendees to check out a heavy-duty demonstration truck outfitted with a pre-production Cummins Westport 12-liter near-zero-NOx natural gas engine. Several local leaders representing the communities most impacted by port pollution also spoke in favor of accelerating the adoption of cleaner trucks, including South Gate Mayor Maria Davila, Montebello Mayor Vivian Romero, and Long Beach City Councilman Roberto Uranga.
“I believe the Clean Air Action Plan can do more,” said Davila. “Our kids’ health can’t wait until 2023 or 2035. That’s why I’m here to ask the ports to make this happen now.”
Several local organizations also sent representatives, including Breathe LA; Latino Coalition for a Healthy California; the Center for Latino Community Health; California State University, Long Beach; the Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund; the Asian Pacific American Leadership Foundation; and the Asian American Resource Center.
“The ports are being irresponsible in the current CAAP by giving the green light to diesel trucks for another 17 years. We know that there are near-zero technologies available now that can reduce air pollution immediately,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynoso, executive director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.
“The question for port commissions now is: In 17 years, when you look back at this moment, will you regret your decision?” Reynoso added. “Will you say to our children, ‘We had a solution to prevent your asthma, but we didn’t act?’”
Photo ©Westport Innovations, used by permission