Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Port of Seattle unanimously adopts Tarleton's green-trade initiative

Press Release from Commissioner Gael Tarleton

SEATTLE - Port of Seattle Commissioners today unanimously adopted a new and accelerated clean air initiative introduced by Commissioner Gael Tarleton that is aimed at meeting federal clean air standards two years ahead of schedule.

"We have already removed more than 260 of the dirtiest short-haul trucks off the road while still working to protect Puget Sound air and jobs," Tarleton said. "We are cleaning the air, protecting and creating jobs while growing trade in one of the toughest economies we've ever faced. This is a major accomplishment for Seattle's clean-trade goals."

The Port launched a special buy-back and retrofit program in 2009 by leveraging approximately $5 million from Port operating dollars and grants from the EPA and the state's Department of Ecology to retrofit pre-1994 trucks. The Port invested an estimated $1.7 million of its own operating dollars towards the total $5 million utilized for the program.

The new initiative is designed to further accelerate the Port's success by beefing up incentives to grow Seattle's clean trade. Key components of the new initiative include:

· A new affordable and reduced insurance program for drivers who participate in the Port's clean trucks/clean fuels program;
· A clean fuels tax incentive, providing benefits to drivers and companies whose trucks use clean fuels;
· A clean-trade rewards program for companies in Washington that support drivers who participate in the Port's clean truck/clean fuels programs;
· A detailed audit of Port truck emissions to ensure the Port is on track to meet federal clean air requirements by 2015 - two years earlier than the federal mandate of 2017. The Port will present the findings of its audit to the Commission in December 2011.

Since 2009, the Port has registered more than 5,900 trucks and more than 1,100 trucking companies and truck owners who operate drayage trucks (short-haul truckers) at the Port's cargo terminals for its clean-truck initiative. Drayage trucks with engines older than model-year 1994 may be eligible for a $5,000 incentive through the Port's ScRAPS (Scrappage and Retrofits for Air in Puget Sound) program which continues until the end of this January.

"We have the highest number of containers and cruise ships coming into the Port of Seattle when the rest of the ports in America have witnessed dramatic declines," said Tarleton. "When California launched its program, it taxed containers to scrap old trucks, but they scrapped the fees and mandates when they lost jobs and 40 percent of the port market share literally drove away. Seattle's program is a model for the nation and this economy."

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1 comment:

Sara said...

Kudos also should go to Commissioner Robert Holland who was the original author of this motion, which he had brought forward last month.

It is disappointing, however, that the strong clean air provisions in the original motion as proposed last month were watered down by the majority of port commissioners in today's vote.

While this is a step in the right direction, those who care about the environment should urge the Seattle Port Commission to do more to protect the South Seattle communities negatively impacted by port operations.