Contact: Matthew Brelis or Lisa Langone 617 568-3100
Clean Truck Program to Improve Air and Reduce Impact of Conley Terminal EPA $500,000 Grant to Bolster Million Dollar Massport Program
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Port Authority and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have teamed up to establish a program which will give owners of older trucks servicing Conley Container Terminal an incentive to replace the vehicles with ones that are 2007 emission compliant or newer. With a $500,000 EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Act grant announced today, a total of $1.5 million will be available to provide truck owners with 50 percent of the replacement cost, up to $25,000, of older trucks which are a primary source of port-related air emissions.
The two government agencies expect up to 60 older trucks will be replaced, with truck owners contributing at least half of the replacement cost. The newer trucks will dramatically reduce lifetime emissions resulting in significant air quality and public health benefits. The program is expected to improve air quality in and around the South Boston terminal at a time when container shipments are projected to grow by up to 50 percent in the coming years.
“This is an innovative program which will have a measurable effect on air quality, and therefore the quality of life of residents in South Boston,’’ said David S. Mackey, Interim CEO of Massport. “Massport’s facilities are economic engines for the region, but we are always aware of the impact our facilities have on our neighbors and we will continue to work to lessen those impacts as we continue to grow the economy.’’
"Reducing diesel emissions is a proven and effective way to improve air quality. Investing in Clean Diesel projects here in Massachusetts will protect peoples’ health, improve air quality and help our economy by keeping jobs here in our communities," said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “Reducing diesel emissions means cleaner air for everyone, which is especially important for people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems. This funding for Massport will help dozens of truck drivers to upgrade their trucks and clean the air.”
The Clean Truck Program, modeled after similar efforts at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of New York and New Jersey, is expected to start yielding results later this year or in early 2012. While the exact emissions reduction will not be known until each replacement vehicle is identified, it is estimated the program will eliminate more than 400 tons of hydrocarbons, 2800 tons of carbon monoxide, 630 tons of nitrogen oxides and more than 30 tons of particulate matter from the environment.
“Conley Terminal serves a vibrant, working port that brings jobs and commerce to the Commonwealth,” Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said. “As truck traffic increases, I am pleased to see that Massport is working with the EPA to reduce harmful emissions that negatively impact our communities. This grant will go a long way in helping to improve air quality for South Boston.”
Older trucks serving Conley are a primary source of port-related air emissions. In January, Massport submitted a grant application to the EPA for $500,000 to replace trucks that are 15 to 26 years old with a 2007 emission compliant truck. The government funding would cover 50 percent of the cost for the replacement truck, and the truck owner would cover the remaining 50 percent. In June, the Massport Board voted to get the Clean Truck Program underway with or without federal funding, by providing $1 million in support. The Authority felt the commitment was important given additional service to Conley in the form of weekly service from Southeast Asia region through the Suez Canal and the initiation of a new feeder service from Halifax, Canada. The EPA funding will be used in the first phase of the program, and it will be expanded with Massport funding.
To ensure truck upgrades would provide long term environmental and health benefits to the South Boston community, agreements with each truck owner will require the truck owner to perform all required maintenance and repair, and require the owner continue to use the upgraded truck to regularly haul containers to and from Conley. The old truck engine must be scrapped and proof provided to Massport and the EPA. The government funds will go to the truck dealership and not the truck owner.
“I applaud the efforts of the EPA and the Massachusetts Port Authority in their attempts to improve the air quality of emissions created by trucks utilizing the Conley Terminal in South Boston,’’ said Senator Jack Hart, D-South Boston. “It is of paramount importance that we take every step necessary to minimize the impact of heavy truck traffic on the surrounding neighborhood and its effect on the quality of life of our residents. The community is grateful for this effort.”
Massport also plans to build a Conley Terminal Dedicated Freight Corridor which will provide a roadway for container trucks and other industrial traffic between Conley and Summer Street at a point south of the Reserved Channel. The project includes the design and construction of a buffer open space, 100 feet in depth and 2,000 feet in length, along the northern side of East First Street, which will shield local residents from some of the industrial activity associated with the working container facility.
The Clean Truck Program and the freight corridor are the most recent in a long line of Massport effort to reduce air emissions associated with all of its transportation-related operations. At Conley Terminal, these reductions have been achieved by:
Converting all of Massport’s cargo handling equipment to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel in 2004
Installing diesel oxygen catalysts (DOCs) on all of the Conley Terminal yard equipment Running the existing pier cranes at Conley Terminal on electric rather than diesel power Replacing equipment with the cleanest cargo handling equipment that meets operational and financial needs.
In addition, Massport has had an ISO 14001-certified Environmental Management System in place at Conley Terminal since 2003 which has led to air quality improvements as well as reduction of other environmental impacts.
Massport’s maritime operations and its facilities enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in the region by supporting more than 27,000 direct and indirect jobs, and contributing nearly $450 million in annual economic impact. It is estimated that with the expected cargo volume increases over the next decade Massport-generated jobs will grow to more than 50,000 by 2025. The Port of Boston’s overall activity supports 34,000 jobs, and contributes more than $2 billion to the local, regional, and national economies.
The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport. Massport is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose premier transportation facilities generate more than $8 billion annually, and enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in New England. No state tax dollars are used to fund operations or capital improvements at Massport facilities.