Boston Logan International Airport will initiate a first-in-the-nation environmental program that will drastically cut local pollution, resulting in cleaner air for Boston and New England. The Massachusetts Port Authority's (Massport) Air Quality Initiative (AQI) will maintain emissions at or below 1999 levels and expand environmental initiatives that produce real reductions in pollution. The more than $15 million initiative will cap Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions, the two key ingredients for smog, while continuing the dramatic yearly decreases in other pollutants and noise produced by aircraft and airport-related vehicles.
As a result of this innovative program, 5,800 tons (15%) of NOx will be eliminated from the local air by 2015, essentially maintaining current emission levels despite an increase in airport operations. During the same period, VOCs will be reduced by 1,000 tons (10%), Carbon Monoxide emissions will be reduced by 20,000 tons (30%), and Particulate Matter will be reduced by 32 tons (5%). The AQI will allow Logan to continue as a vital economic engine for Boston and the region while limiting and reducing environmental impacts.
"Logan Airport is now in the clean air business," said Virginia Buckingham, Massport executive Director and CEO. "Once again, Logan is leading the nation and taking a proactive step towards cleaning the air and reducing pollution. State Representative Anthony Petruccelli and Environmental Secretary Bob Durand deserve much credit for helping us craft a program that will have a real benefit well into the future."
These reductions will be achieved without sacrificing tremendous gains expected in noise reduction over the next 15 years. As jet technology has improved, aircraft have become significantly more quiet and efficient; the downside has been an increase in NOx output. Since the AQI does not punish the airlines for using these quieter planes, it allows Massport to continue Logan's success in reducing noise for airport neighbors. The population affected by persistent airplane noise (65DNL) will drop from 23,000 to 11,000 by 2015.
The AQI will be paid for through a fee charged to airlines and tenants. The program is the first of its kind to charge polluters a fee and invest that money into cleaner air. The initiative will:
Expand existing programs to reduce pollution from the airport, including alternative fuel and clean fuel conversion of rental car buses, hotel courtesy buses, airline ground service equipment, and Massport vehicles; consolidation of rental car facilities and shuttle service; improvements to the heating and cooling plant; and low-emission fuel buses for increased Logan Express services. Create financial incentives to reduce emissions, focusing on mobile sources such as buses and cars -- the most significant sources of pollution and the most difficult to regulate. Funded by the airlines, the AQI will provide millions of dollars to companies and agencies that permanently cut down on emissions in and around Boston, creating cleaner air. Potential recipients of the incentives include school bus companies and car rental businesses. Logan contributes less than 2% of all the NOx emitted in the greater Boston area. Automobiles and trucks in the Boston vicinity produce 50 times more NOx than Logan Airport. The AQI targets these mobile sources that cause the bulk of air pollution.
In terms of NOx emissions, Logan is ranked well below other major airports such as Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis (Lambert) and even Zurich in Switzerland. Logan was the first airport to monitor Nitrogen Oxide emissions and averages well below any standard that measures environmental impacts.
A new runway and taxiway at Logan will further cut emissions by improving airfield efficiency and cutting delays and airplane idling and taxiing. With a new runway and taxiway in place total emissions will decrease by 6% by removing between 500 and 700 tons per year of pollutants. These airside improvements will improve the air quality year after year, despite increases in the number of flights forecast through 2010 and 2015.
Logan Airport has long been recognized for its environmentally friendly policies, which include noise abatement procedures that restrict jet operations on certain runways and the soundproofing of more than 6,000 dwelling units. In addition, Massport is the recipient of the Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Award for the Logan International Airport Alternative Fuels Program.
The AQI will require Massport to report on the status and progress of emissions reduction yearly.