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The Port of Los Angeles Surpassed Many Emissions Reduction Goals in 2014

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The Port of Los Angeles is getting ready to host a community workshop next week to gather input for the next update of the Clear Air Action Plan (CAAP) which will set new pollution reduction goals for 2023—targets that it will likely meet ahead of schedule.

According to a report released Thursday, the busy Southern California port surpassed many of its 2014 aspirations, logging record reductions of harmful emissions over the last 10 years.

The port’s “2014 Inventory of Air Emissions” detailed that diesel particulate matter emissions were down 85 percent since 2005—the year before the CAAP was first adopted. Sulfur oxides plummeted 97 percent in the same period, while nitrogen oxides more than halved.

“Today our efforts to make Los Angeles the most sustainable city in America take another step forward,” the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, said in a statement. “Overall, the business of moving cargo through America’s number one container port is cleaner than ever and that directly improves the quality of life for families across Southern California.”

“Our strategies for operating a sustainable port withstood the cargo congestion challenges we faced in late 2014,” added Port Executive Director Gene Seroka, alluding to the nine months of negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union over a new labor contract that caused operations to slow and, in some cases, cease altogether.

He continued, “With the ongoing investments in clean technology made by the Los Angeles Harbor Department, our customers and supply chain stakeholders, we are committed to forge ahead with measures that protect these gains and continue to reduce emissions.”

The report pointed out that much of the progress made last year is attributable to vessel emission reduction measures, such as requiring ships to plug into shore power under the state’s at-berth regulation and run on fuel whose sulfur content is at or below 0.1 percent within 24 nautical miles of the California coast.

“These measures were crucial to last year’s breakthroughs because ships remain the largest single source of air pollution from port-related sources,” said Christopher Cannon, director of environmental management at the port. “The benefits of shore power are expected to grow in the coming years as the practice becomes routine and the state phases in higher mandatory compliance rates.”

But there’s more work to be done. That’s why the port plans to review and update the entire CAAP to ensure clear air progress continues.