EPA to Enlist the Help of Ports in Green Strategy

To reduce the environmental impacts of moving goods through ports, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a new plan for working with public port authorities and other interested groups.

The "Vision, Mission, and Strategy for Sustainable Ports" recognizes the steady growth in global maritime commerce and the critical role American ports and related transportation and supply chain partners play in managing the environmental impacts of moving goods across the country. Ports are vital to the U.S. economy. Ocean-going ships move more than 99 percent of U.S. overseas trade (by weight). The top 10 U.S. ports moved a combined total of 23 million cargo containers in 2006. The environmental challenges for ports and their transportation network include reducing air emissions, improving water quality, and protecting the health of communities near port facilities. EPA's strategy focuses on: Clean Air and Affordable Energy, Clean and Safe Water, Healthy Communities and Eco-systems, Global Environment, Ports Communications, and Enforcement. The strategy outlines 70 possible actions, including quantifying and reducing air emissions from all sources along the shipping supply chain; setting up state innovative financing funds to help small owner-operators of diesel equipment finance the upgrading or replacement of older, dirtier engines; and collaborating with the international port community on innovative technologies and development of international standards.

The strategy complements the recent resolution and guiding principles on port sustainability issued by the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA). The agency's programs will work with AAPA, individual port authorities, private port operators, transportation supply and logistics companies, government agencies, states, communities, and other interested groups to promote and implement sustainable practices at ports and their related operations.

EPA regions will work collaboratively with individual ports to select (from among the full menu of possible actions in the strategy) a specific set of activities to work on together. These shared action plans will address the unique environmental impacts and opportunities for ports in different parts of the country. For more on the EPA strategy, visit http://www.epa.gov/sectors/ports.

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