EPA announces national effort to improve emissions at ports

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 5:10 PM EDT|Updated: May. 5, 2023 at 5:26 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - While at the Port of Savannah, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a nationwide effort to improve emissions and decrease pollution with more environmentally friendly equipment.

The announcement means an estimated $4 billion invested in cleaner energy trucks at the ports in Savannah and around the nation. The Clean Ports Program and the Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program would replace fossil fuel trucks and other equipment with those powered by alternate power - electricity, LP gas or others. The goal is to lower pollution emissions at ports like Savannah’s by 50 to 60 percent.

Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff and others got an up close look at the types of trucks that will become more common around the country.

The senator teamed with EPA Administrator Michael Reagan to announce $4 billion in federal spending. The money will be divided between upgrading vehicles and reducing other pollutants around the ports.

Sen. Ossoff calls it a win on many levels.

“To improve our capacity to improve growth, to reduce air and noise pollution, and to ensure that the continued development of ports like the Port of Savannah insure environmental public health for local communities,” Sen. Ossoff said.

Labor leaders say they’re thankful.

“You’ll be in a cooler cab being in an electric vehicle, and it’s less noise. So, it makes the environment and your work environment much safer and quieter place to work,” Local ILA President Paul Mosley Sr. said.

Local port leaders say the offer of federal funding will help their transition and any adjustments.

“We can tweak here and there, be smart, and end up with a much better product for Savannah, for Georgia, and for the Southeast,” Authority Board Chairman Joel Wooten said.

Reagin said they’ll seek input from ports like Savannah on the best ways to implement these improvements. No timetable on when the equipment could start rolling in, but port officials say they’ll submit their place almost immediately.

Savannah and other ports have until June 5 to submit input on how they can further reduce emissions at their site.

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