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In the first four years of its implementation, the Clean Air Strategy (CAS, a plan developed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and its partners for the Port of NY and NJ), made significant progress toward its goal of reducing air emissions from all port related sources. According to the Clean Air Strategy Implementation Report released in December 2013, 80 percent of near term actions identified by the CAS (27 actions out of a total 34) have been completed or launched.

Of the 27 completed actions, 12 were led by the Port Authority, 11 were implemented by four members of the CAS Strategy Group (EPA Region 2, NJ DEP, NYC DOT, and NYC EDC), and four were implemented directly by the rail lines and terminal operators at the port.

The report also announced that the most recent Port Commerce Department Emissions Inventory shows that, between 2006 and 2010, criteria air pollutants decreased at a rate greater than or equal to the CAS's annual goal of 3 percent despite a 4.2 percent increase in cargo volumes during the same period.

"This is great news for our environment, as well as the people who live and work in our port region," said William Nurthen, general manager of port environmental and waterways development programs. "Worth noting, the 2010 Emissions Inventory only covers 14 months of CAS implementation. During that timeframe, some CAS actions, such as the Clean Vessel Incentive Program and Truck Replacement Program, had barely begun, or not begun at all. We therefore expect the next Emissions Inventory to show even more substantial emissions reductions."

The next Emissions Inventory, covering port operations in 2012, will be released this year and will guide development of the 2014 CAS Update as well as a second Implementation Report planned for 2015.

The Port Authority, working with its partners in the Strategy Group, developed the Clean Air Strategy for the Port of NY and NJ, which was published in 2009. Stakeholders from port industry, environmental, and community groups provided input on the actions contained in the CAS, which are designed to reduce emissions from all port sources:

  • ocean-going vessels,
  • cargo handling equipment,
  • trucks,
  • rail, and
  • harbor craft.

Overall, the CAS addresses three primary objectives:

  • reduce emissions-related impacts on human health and the environment resulting from Maritime-related criteria air pollutant emissions, particularly those that come from diesel particulate emissions; 
  • reduce maritime-related contribution to greenhouse gas emissions associated with climate change; and 
  • contribute to the effort to bring the New York/Northern New Jersey/Long Island Non-Attainment Area (NYNJLINA) into attainment.

The CAS's two specific emission reduction goals are to:

  • achieve an annual 3% net decrease of criteria pollutants. This equates to a 30% decrease from baseline 2006 levels despite any port growth over the next ten years [2009 to 2019].
  • achieve an annual 5% net decrease of greenhouse gases (GHGs). This equates to a 50% decrease from 2006 baseline levels despite any port growth over the next ten years [2009 to 2019].

The CAS features several keystone initiatives:

  • The Truck Phase Out Plan reduces emissions from drayage trucks serving Port Authority marine terminal facilities by phasing out the oldest, most polluting trucks. The first element of this phase out became effective January 1, 2011, when all trucks with engines 1993 or older were denied access to Port Authority marine terminals. The second phase kicks in on January 1, 2017 when only trucks with 2007 or newer engines will be granted access to Port Authority marine terminals.
  • The recently completed Truck Replacement Program (TRP) provided truck owners with a financial incentive to replace their old trucks with newer, cleaner, more fuel efficient vehicles. The TRP combined $8.6 million in federal grant funding, which covered 25% of the replacement vehicle cost, with $25.3 million in Port Authority funds for low-interest loans that covered the remaining 75% of the replacement truck cost. The TRP replaced 429 old trucks and achieved emission reduction of 70% for Nitrogen Oxide and 64% for Particulate Matter, when compared to emissions from the old fleet of trucks that were replaced. The old trucks were scrapped.
  • The Ocean-Going Vessel Low Sulfur Fuel Program, completed in December 2012, encouraged the use of low-sulfur fuel by providing financial incentives to operators of ocean vessels for up to 50 percent of the cost differential between high-sulfur fuel and low-sulfur fuel at 0.2% sulfur content.
  • The Clean Vessel Incentive (CVI) Program, launched in January 2013, attracts the cleanest vessels to our port by providing a financial incentive to vessels based on their Environmental Ship Index (ESI) score. The ESI is an internationally recognized mechanism for scoring and ranking vessels based on their environmental performance. In its first year the CVI program provided over $1.1 million to ships making 569 qualifying vessel calls to Port Authority marine terminals.
  • The $19.3 million Brooklyn Cruise Terminal Shore Power project, scheduled for commissioning in late 2014, will be the first shore power installation on the US East and Gulf Coast. This installation will enable cruise ships to plug into shore side power and shut down their onboard diesel generators when they call at the Brooklyn Cruise terminal.
  • The Locomotive Retrofit Program combines Port Authority funds with those contributed by CSX rail and a federal grant to retrofit two switcher locomotives serving the port with ultra low-emitting GenSet technology. The first retrofitted locomotive is now serving the port and the second should be completed in late 2014.
  • The Cargo Handling Equipment Fleet Modernization Program, which ended in December 2013, reimbursed participating Port Authority marine terminal tenants for 20 percent of the cost to replace existing cargo handling equipment with new units that met federal on-road air-emission standards (as applicable) or the most recent federal off-road emissions standards. This program achieved significant emissions reductions by replacing 42 old units with newer, cleaner vehicles.

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