EPA directs pollution cuts for trains, ships

March 14, 2008 7:00:09 PM PDT
The air could soon be cleaner coming out of Bay Area ports. The environmental Protection Agency announced new pollution regulations on trains, ships and passenger ferries.

There are new regulations for ships and trains spewing pollution into the air at Bay Area ports.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday, it will require new diesel engines used on ships and locomotives to produce 90-percent less soot and 80-percent less smog causing nitrogen oxide.

Deadlines for the changes range from 2014 all the way to 2030.

The latest regulations impact ferries and tugboats and other small vessels in the ports, but avoid what many consider the biggest polluters -- foreign flagged cargo ships.

The Port of Oakland supports the new federal requirements but would like to see more done internationally.

"We do exist in a competitive market, a global market and so when regulations are international that of course is the best for us," said Libby Schaaf from the Port of Oakland.

The Port of Oakland is already moving forward with its plans to cut pollution. The executive director is proposing implementing container fees to raise $520 million dollars for anti-pollution measures.

The money would be used to buy diesel particulate filters for trucks and even replace old diesel engines.

The port's Board of Commissioners is also voting on a policy committing the port to an 85-percent health risk reduction by 2020.

But for some in the Oakland community, it comes too late.

"We're glad that the federal government is moving in the right direction but more can be done. Particularly in communities that are most impacted by trains and ships," said Joel Ervice from Asthma Management and Prevention.

Joel has seen first hand the effects of pollution while working at Asthma Management and Prevention.

A California Health Interview Survey shows one in five children in Alameda County has been diagnosed with asthma.

"We never like to see pollution reductions that are 10 years out, 20 years out, particularly in low income communities of color. Pollution reductions need to happen now," said Ervice.

The newest regulations are in, but expect more debate over what's next.


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