WASHINGTON, May 5 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Friday launched $4 billion to electrify U.S. ports and cut heavy-duty truck emissions as the government looks to address disproportionate impacts on neighboring communities.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it is seeking input into the $3 billion Clean Ports Program to reduce pollutants at U.S. ports and the $1 billion Heavy Duty Clean Vehicle Program to reduce vehicle emissions near ports and other trucking routes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants details on zero-emission truck availability, market price, performance, zero-emission port equipment, electric charging, and other infrastructure needs for zero-emission technologies.
The program addresses “the harmful pollution pumped through our port communities through the investment and standards-setting that will catalyze the shift from dirty diesel to clean, Made-in-America technologies,” said Ali Zaidi, White House national climate adviser.
Al-Zaidi told Reuters that ports are responsible for a large share of emissions. “They are concentrated pockets of pollution,” al-Zaidi said. “You can accelerate in the direction of more productive and efficient hubs of economic activity, but we can cut emissions at the same time.”
Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized new clean air standards for heavy-duty trucks for the first time in more than two decades that are 80 percent more stringent than current standards. The EPA estimates that by 2045, the rule will result in up to 2,900 fewer premature deaths per year, 1.1 million fewer days of schooling for children and $29 billion in annual net benefits.
The Senate voted 50-49 last week to repeal those rules intended to drastically reduce smog and soot emissions from heavy-duty trucks, but President Joe Biden has promised to veto the measure.
The Environmental Protection Agency in April proposed new sweeping reductions to the limits for medium and heavy exhaust emissions.
“People who live near ports know air pollution can be severe,” Biden said in April, “because all the trucks and all the vehicles that move goods in and out of ports and on board ships pollute the air significantly.”
California regulators last week approved new rules that require all medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold in the state in 2036 to be new zero-emissions and reduced-emissions regulations for locomotives. Large excavators and state and local delivery fleets must transition to zero emissions by 2035, local garbage trucks and buses by 2039, and sleeper cab tractors and specialty vehicles by 2042.
Reporting by David Shepardson
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