Environmental Protection

San Francisco Bay Gets Stimulus for Port Truck Filters

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced a new $2 million federal grant to supplement the $20 million in state and local funds to install diesel exhaust filters and replace old trucks to reduce particulate emissions at the Port of Oakland, according to a July 28 press release.

This program is a partnership between the district, the Port of Oakland, the California Air Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The program's goal is to quickly reduce the health risks to the West Oakland community from truck activity at this major transportation hub.

"This program will greatly improve air quality and health in an area that experiences diesel particulate concentrations that are among the highest in the Bay Area," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Air District. "Diesel truck exhaust filters will eliminate approximately 85 percent of particulate emissions from these vehicles."

Port truckers with model year 2003 or older vehicles serving the port can apply for funding to install the particulate filter device at the Port of Oakland's OT411 Truck Information Center located at 11 Burma Road, Oakland, Calif.

According to statewide regulation, after Jan. 1, 2010, many older trucks without particulate filters will be prohibited from entering the port and will not be eligible to receive retrofit funding. The district is processing the applications submitted for Prop. 1B funding and offering new funding for retrofits on a first-come, first-served basis.

"This funding will allow West Oakland residents to breathe easier," said Mary Nichols, ARB chair. "Over the next several years ARB's comprehensive programs to slash diesel emissions from trucks, trains and ships will bring dramatically cleaner air to port communities throughout the state."

Diesel particulate matter, considered a toxic air contaminant by the state of California, can penetrate deep into the lungs and create major health risks, including cancer. The agencies hope that by pooling their resources in this program they can reduce these risks faster.

"This program is an excellent example of the way local, state and federal governments can work harmoniously to solve our most pressing air pollution problems," said Laura Yoshii, acting EPA regional administrator. "We are proud to contribute federal Recovery Act funding to help improve public health while strengthening the economy here in Oakland."

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District is the regional agency chartered with protecting air quality in the Bay Area. For more information, visit www.baaqmd.gov.

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