US launches $4 billion effort to electrify US ports, cut emissions

WASHINGTON, May 5 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Friday launched a $4 billion effort to electrify U.S. ports and cut heavy truck emissions as the government looks to address disproportionate impacts on nearby communities.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it is seeking input into its $3 billion Clean Ports program to reduce pollution in US ports and its $1[ads1] billion Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle program to reduce emissions from vehicles near ports and other truck routes. EPA wants details on the availability, market price, and performance of zero-emission trucks, zero-emission port equipment, electric charging, and other infrastructure needs for zero-emission technologies.

White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi said the program addresses “harmful pollution pumping through our port communities by making investments and setting standards that will spur a shift away from dirty diesel to clean, American-made technology.”

Zaidi told Reuters that ports account for a significant share of emissions. “They are pockets of concentrated pollution,” Zaidi said. “You can accelerate toward more productive, more efficient hubs of economic activity, but we can cut emissions at the same time.”

Earlier this year, the EPA finalized new clean air standards for heavy-duty trucks for the first time in more than two decades that are 80% stricter than current standards. The EPA estimates that by 2045, the rule will result in up to 2,900 fewer annual premature deaths, 1.1 million fewer lost school days for children, and $29 billion in annual net benefits.

The Senate voted 50-49 last week to repeal the rules aimed at drastically cutting smog and soot-forming emissions from heavy trucks, but President Joe Biden has vowed to veto the measure.

In April, the EPA proposed new comprehensive cuts to medium and heavy discharge limits for tailpipes.

“People who live near ports know that air pollution can be extreme, because all the trucks and all the vehicles that move goods in and out of ports and on the back of the ship pollute the air significantly,” Biden said in April.

California regulators last week approved new rules requiring all medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emissions by 2036 and new low-emissions regulations for locomotives. Big rigs, local delivery and public fleets must move to zero emissions by 2035, garbage trucks and local buses by 2039, and sleeper tractors and special vehicles by 2042.

Reporting by David Shepardson

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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