Great news out of the Port of Long Beach as its Board of Harbor Commissioners voted to exempt low NOx trucks from the Clean Truck Fund Rate. The exemption applies to trucks picking up or dropping off loaded containers at the port that use natural gas engines meeting the 0.02 grams of nitrogen oxides per brake horsepower-hour standard and have been purchased and registered in the Port Drayage Truck Registry by Dec. 31, 2022.
The proposal was publicly supported by CNGVC as well as Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and South Coast AQMD (SCAQMD) Deputy Executive Officer Matt Miyasato. The Coalition for Clean Air also provided testimony in support, emphasizing that this is public health issue and the need for near-term emission reductions is great. Several Port Commissioners pointed out the current lack of zero-emission truck options and expressed concern over the fact that absent any other options, truckers will simply replace their diesel trucks with “newer” diesel when the California Truck and Bus Regulation takes effect January 1, 2023. Commissioner Sharon Weissman stated that she was not willing to delay when they could vote to make a difference today to achieve greater emission reductions.
These are the exact points CNGVC made during today’s public comment and continue to make to State Legislators in support of Assembly Member Laura Friedman’s “Clean Trucks” budget request. This proposal will invest $750 million in the severe non-attainment districts of the SCAQMD, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District as well as the Bay Area AQMD to incentivize fleet operators to choose cleaner, low NOx truck technology and get diesel off the highways. Low NOx trucks are commercially available, cost-effective in comparison and 90 percent cleaner than diesel.
The National Resource Defense Council, the Teamsters and several other environmental advocates expressed opposition to the Port Commissioners’ actions citing concerns associated with the continued use of natural gas (and biogas) and calling for the vote to be postponed to allow for more community participation. For more information about today’s action, click here and here.
Photo ©Westport Innovations, used by permission