What the EPA Must Do Now to Reduce Deadly Diesel Emissions in Port Communities and Freight Corridors: An environmental brief

Jan 21, 2016 | Publisher: The Moving Forward Network (MFN) | Category: Science |  

What the EPA Must Do Now to Reduce Deadly Diesel Emissions in Port Communities and Freight Corridors AN ENVIRONMEN TAL JUSTICE POLIC Y BRIEF MOVING FORWARD NETWORK | JAN 4, 2016 | WWW.ZEROEMISSIONSNOW.NET ZERO GETTING TO ph ot o cr ed it: C al ifo rn ia D ep ar tm en t o f T ra ns po rt at io n EPA must act promptly and forcefully to end the deadly diesel emissions plaguing our communities by requiring the use of zero emissions transportation technology. This is an Environmental Justice imperative. • Deadly diesel emissions from the trucks, trains and ships that transport freight throughout the country cause very high rates of asthma in children and premature adult deaths from lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and neurological disorders. • Low-income communities of color, particularly African-American and Hispanic communities adjacent to our sea and inland ports, and along the nearby highway corridors on which diesel trucks travel, are the most severely and disproportionately affected. • Diesel freight traffic will increase substantially over the next several decades and already produces over 500 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually, a major contributor to global climate change. EPA should adopt a new set of national standards to reduce emissions from freight. EPA should initiate the Environmental Review Process whenever and wherever freight-related projects are proposed to ensure that the health of communities is protected. EPA must assist and direct state and local governments to address freight-generated pollution by requiring better planning and providing guidance. EPA should hold regular meetings with affected communities in each of its Regions so that they can help set appropriate emission reduction goals and identify the actions necessary to achieve them. Over thirteen million Americans live in neighborhoods in which they are exposed to deadly diesel emissions from ships, trains and trucks that carry freight into and out of ports and rail yards throughout the country. Another forty-five million live along the highway corridors used for the same purpose. Every day and night, doctors serving these communities treat children struggling for breath as asthma attacks their lungs. Their colleagues treat adults for diseases resulting in premature deaths from lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and neurological disorders. Numerous studies show that the diesel- powered freight transportation vehicles, whose emissions of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide produce elevated levels of these illnesses, are also major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing 500 million metric tons annually as of 2012. “Diesel death zones” are the least known but among the most urgent environmental justice issues of our times. They can be eradicated in short order however with the zero emissions technology now available, if there is political will to take appropriate action. The Moving Forward Network, a growing national coalition of forty- five member organizations including community based groups, national environment organizations and academic institutions in twenty major cities, representing over two million people has outlined a detailed program to reduce diesel emissions that is well-within EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy’s statutory authority to implement. In this brief we provide an account of the ways in which diesel freight emissions jeopardize the health of low- income communities of color, predominantly African- American and Hispanic communities as well as a set of recommendations that would solve this problem if the EPA is willing to act on them. A more detailed version of this brief was provided to the EPA Administrator in a letter of December, 2015 that is available at bit.ly/mccarthyletter. DIESEL DEATH ZONES is the term coined by an emergency room doctor to describe the largely African American and Hispanic communities adjacent to the nation’s sea and inland ports. Freight Operations Emit Deadly Diesel Exhaust that Destroys the Health of Exposed Communities While Also Contributing Significantly to Global Climate Change Nearly a decade ago, EPA recognized that more than 13 million people, predominantly low-income African- Americans and Hispanics (including 3.5 million children, live near major marine ports or rail yards, and are thereby exposed to substantially increased health risks from air pollution.1 These figures do not include the approximately 45 million individuals who live within 300 feet of a highway2 or close to large distribution centers where diesel emission sources congregate. Major freight corridors, rail yards, ports and logistic centers. Conventional cargo movement relies on diesel powered ships, trucks, and trains that emit dangerous particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). These operations often are located in regions that already violate federal clean air standards.3 The American Association of Port Authorities has identified nearly 39 U.S. ports located in counties that are designated non-attainment for the federal ozone and PM 2.5 standards.4 Epidemiology studies have consistently demonstrated that children and adults living in close proximity to sources of air pollution, such as busy roadways, have poorer health outcomes, including but not limited to: • Asthma, poor lung development, and other respiratory diseases; • Cardiovascular disease; • Lung cancer; • Pre-term births and infants with low birth weight • Premature death. As a result, communities near freight facilities experience increased illness and death, emergency room visits, doctor visits, hospital admissions, and missed school days. In June 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organization, classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans after determining that there was “sufficient evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.”5 EPA itself has listed diesel particulate matter as a mobile source air toxic. How do ports measure up? Note: This figure compares combined Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach NOx emissions with the highest NOx refinery and power plant in South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) jurisdiction, which includes the South Coast and Salton air basins. Since the power plant with the highest NOx emissions in SCAQMD jurisdiction is in the Salton air basin rather than the South Coast air basin, a high-emitting power plant close to the ports (DWP Haynes Generating station) is also included.6 Freight operations also produce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), which trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and contribute to global climate change. Freight transport in 2013 was the third largest category of CO2 emissions, and contributed 10.2% of all CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion.7 Only electricity generation from coal and on-road mobile source combustion (excluding freight trucks) contribute more, at 30.5% and 20.3% respectively.8 Emissions from freight in the U.S. are on par with total 2010 CO2 emissions from countries like France (513 MMT CO2 Eq) and Australia (560 MMT CO2 Eq).9 THE PROBLEM NOx Emissions Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach versus power plant and refinery with highest NOx emissions in South Coast AQMD jurisdiction Low-Income Communities of Color are Disproportionately Exposed to Freight-Generated Emissions In 2007, ICF International conducted a study for EPA looking at the demographic composition of those living near U.S. ports and rail yards.10 The study analyzed who is exposed to significant levels of diesel particulate matter (DPM), defined as levels that exceed 2.0 ug/m3.11 ICF found that of households and populations living near U.S. ports and rail yards in 2000, there was a greater proportion of people earning lower incomes (less than $10,000 and $10,000-$29,999) and people of color as compared to proportions in the nation as a whole.12 Another study examined demographic disparities in exposure at U.S. ports.13 Based on data from 43 ports and Census 2000 figures, results suggest that over 4 million people in the U.S. are exposed to port-related DPM concentrations that exceed a 100-per-million carcinogenic health risk if the exposure concentration were maintained for 70 years.14 With respect to income and race the study revealed the following: For Income (of population exposed to concentrations exceeding a 100-per- million carcinogenic health risk): • Almost two times more low-income households (i.e. 1999 incomes less than $10,000) are exposed to dangerous levels of DPM than the proportion of low- income households in the U.S. population as a whole. • In Oakland, CA and Nashville, TN, the proportion of low-income households facing this high risk is more than 5 times the proportion of low-income residents in the metropolitan area. • In Cincinnati, OH, the proportion of low-income households facing this high risk is more than 4 times the proportion in the metropolitan area. • In Cleveland, OH and Paulsboro, NJ, the proportion of low-income households facing this high risk is more than 3 times the proportion in the metropolitan area. For Race/Ethnicity (of population exposed to concentrations exceeding a 100-per- million carcinogenic health risk): • African-Americans made up a proportion of the high- risk population that was 3 times their proportion of the U.S. population. • Hispanics made up a proportion of the high-risk population that was twice their proportion of the U.S. population. • In Oakland, CA, the proportion of African-Americans exposed to these concentrations was more than 7 times the proportion in the metropolitan area. • In Gary, IN, the proportion of African-Americans exposed to these concentrations was more than 5 times the proportion in the metropolitan area. • In Chicago, IL and Nashville, TN, the proportion of African-Americans exposed to these concentrations was more than 4 times the proportion in the metropolitan areas. • In Paulsboro, NJ, the proportion of Hispanics was more than 6 times the proportion in the metropolitan area. • In Cleveland, OH, the proportion of Hispanics was more than 5 times the proportion in the metropolitan area. Further, a demographics analysis of people living near busy terminals at the Port of New York/New Jersey shows that there is a higher share of minority and low-income households living near that port than in the state of New Jersey and the NY/NJ metropolitan area. Specifically, 87.9% of the individuals living within 300 meters of the Port of Elizabeth, Port of Newark and Howland Hook, NY container terminals are considered “minority,” in comparison to 40.7% in the state of New Jersey and 51.1% in the NY/NJ metropolitan area.15 THE PROBLEM Blacks made up a proportion of the high-risk population that was 3 times their proportion of the U.S. population Hispanics made up a proportion of the high-risk population that was twice their proportion of the U.S. population 3x 2x Freight Operations are Increasing, Further Threatening Public Health Freight operations will intensify over the coming decade, potentially affecting even more individuals and contributing to violations of clean air standards, as well as creating toxic hot spots. By 2020, the total volume of cargo shipped by water is expected to be double that of 2001 volumes.16 By way of example, in 2020, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are expected to handle the equivalent of 36 million 20-foot containers annually--more than twice the container volume flowing through these two ports in 2007.17 Further, the Panama Canal expansion will be completed in April 2016.18 Ports in the eastern U.S. and elsewhere have been expanding to accommodate more container volume, and some of the biggest ships in the world are able to carry up to 14,000 containers. These expansion projects could shift where international cargo is moved—adding to existing pollution in some areas and creating new impacts in others. Further, with the tightening of the federal ozone standard, we can expect that diesel-powered ships, trucks, trains and equipment used to sustain freight operations will pose attainment problems for many regions. EPA must prioritize reduction and timely elimination of freight-related air pollution. In 2009, EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) provided 41 recommendations for EPA action. To date, EPA has not adopted any targeted strategy for reducing diesel emissions from freight sufficient to protect public health. As freight traffic continues to increase, so will the incidence of the diseases that diesel emissions cause in the largely low-income communities of color, particularly African-American and Latino communities near freight hubs. In what follows, we outline the measures EPA must take to remedy this problem. To that end, EPA should direct each of its regional offices to identify and prioritize actions in communities most affected by goods movement vehicles and facilities. We recommend the following, not as a menu of options but rather as a comprehensive program all of whose elements must be pursued together in order to achieve the outcomes we seek: Adopt Regulations to Reduce Freight- related Emissions • National Standards for Heavy Duty Trucks: EPA Phase 2 greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks should include incentives for zero-emissions technologies and address particulate emissions from auxiliary power units. The agency should also adopt new nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions standards for those trucks. • New NOx and Particulate Matter Standards for Ocean-Going Vessels: Foreseeable technologies including liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines, selective catalytic reduction (SCR), and general engine efficiency improvements can reduce NOx emissions by another 90% below current standards. • National Standards for Locomotive Engines and Redefine the Definition of “New” Locomotive Engines: Substantially lower NOx and particulate matter emissions can be achieved by adopting Tier 5 standards for new locomotive engines through the use of LNG and SCR. Technology now exists that enables zero-emission railroad track miles. EPA should also revise its definition of “new” locomotive engines to enable states to reduce pollution from existing locomotive engines. • National Indirect Source Review Rule: The Clean Air Act defines “indirect source” as a facility that attracts mobile sources of pollution and permits EPA to adopt and enforce indirect source rules for highways, airports, and other federally assisted indirect sources. EPA Should Engage in the Environmental Review Process to Encourage Infrastructure Projects that Protect Health The freight industry has been making substantial investments to modernize and expand operations based on the expectation, as confirmed by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report (June 2012), that trade will increase substantially due to population and income growth over the next thirty years. EPA is frequently asked to participate in state and federal environmental review processes for RECOMMENDATIONS THE PROBLEM major infrastructure projects—channel deepening, bridge raising, terminal expansion. It must become a stronger advocate for measures that protect the health of affected communities. EPA Must Assist and Direct State and Local Governments to Address Freight- Related Pollution EPA should encourage state and local efforts to reduce freight pollution. It should: • Require Better Planning Inventories of Freight Activities: Currently, state implementation plans (SIPs) typically fail to adequately inform the public about emissions from freight operations. EPA should require that states and local agencies quantify emissions from all freight sources (trucks, ships, locomotives, harbor craft, and cargo handling equipment), and the aggregate emissions produced from operations at freight facilities (ports, railyards, distribution centers) so that control measures can be implemented. • Provide Guidance on Control Options Available to State and Local Authorities to Address Pollution from Freight Activities: The keys to cleaning up freight pollution will be 1) the advancement of zero-emission technologies in trucks, trains, marine vessels, cargo handling and ground support equipment; 2) the advancement of ship and locomotive emissions capture and treatment technologies; and 3) the turnover or retrofit of existing, older vehicle and equipment fleets. Too often, state and local agencies incorrectly assume that they lack authority to regulate freight sources. The reality is that state and local agencies have a number of tools available to them to reduce freight pollution. EPA should issue guidance to assist states in their evaluation of control options, which include: » Vehicle Use Restrictions: The Clean Air Act preempts only state standards on new engines and vehicles. States and local agencies are not precluded from regulating existing engines and vehicles by, for example, banning the use of outdated, highly polluting vehicles, and accelerating fleet turnover of such vehicles. » Local Indirect Source Rules: State and local indirect source review (ISR) rules can be used to reduce air pollution where freight emissions congregate. For example, to encourage development and deployment of zero-emission urban delivery trucks, a state ISR rule could require that new distribution warehouses be equipped with electric charging stations. ISR rules for sea ports could set emission reduction targets for new, existing or modified terminals that would result in the deployment of zero-emission cargo handling equipment or the installation of shore-side power infrastructure. » Fleet Rules: State and local governments can adopt rules that that require governments to purchase or lease less polluting vehicles for use in government fleets. Such rules yield emissions benefits and can create a market for zero emission technologies. » California Standards: The Clean Air Act allows states with high pollution (“non-attainment”) areas to require that mobile sources meet California standards. Widespread adoption of these standards would incentivize the use of cleaner technologies and lower their cost by creating economies of scale. • Develop Incentive Funding Strategies to Target Freight Sources: EPA should prioritize funding for zero emissions demonstration projects, target funding to applicants that meet strict criteria, such as ports that complete facility specific inventories and meet health risk and emissions reduction goals, and fund programs that incentivize early regulatory compliance. A more detailed description of our recommendations can be found in the Moving Forward Network’s letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy of December 7, 2015, online at bit.ly/mccarthyletter. If acted upon together, these recommendations will meaningfully improve air quality and substantially reduce air pollution-related illnesses generated by the nation’s freight industry. 1 Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Regulatory Impact Analysis: Control of Emissions of Air Pollution from Locomotive Engines and Marine Compression Ignition Engines Less than 30 Liters Per Cylinder, EPA420, pp. 2-57 (March 2008). Available at: 1.usa.gov/1Zh4cai. 2 See Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ), EPA, Near Roadway Air Pollution and Health (May 22, 2015). Available at: 1.usa.gov/1BPmNz9. 3 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization (WHO), IARC: Diesel Engine Exhaust Carcinogenic, p. 1 (June 12, 2012). Available at: bit.ly/1EVqkTc. 4 American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), Port Communities in Non-Attainment Areas for National Ambient Air Quality Standards (2013). Available at: bit.ly/1OLOlit. 5 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization (WHO),) IARC: Diesel Engine Exhaust Carcinogenic (June 12, 2012). Available at: bit.ly/1SKCxPt. 6 By way of example, if the combined Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were a power plant, it would be the 21st most polluting power plant in the United States in terms of NOx. 7 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2013, EPA 430-R-15- 004, p. ES-26 (April 15, 2015). Available at: 1.usa.gov/1Q0WO2s. 8 Id. 9 CAIT Climate Data Explorer, Country GHG Emissions, World Resources Institute (2010). Available at: cait.wri.org. 10 ICF International, ICF International Memorandum EPA-HQ- OAR-2003-0190-0744 Re: Estimation of Diesel Particulate Matter Population Exposure Near Selected Harbor Areas and Rail Yards (revised) (September 28, 2007). 11 2.0 ug/m3 is the lower end of the range of occupational exposures where increased cancer risk was found and a level that EPA uses as a threshold for identifying areas with poor air quality. Id.; United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2014 DERA Ports RFP List of Areas of Poor Air Quality (September 16, 2014). Available at: 1.usa.gov/1RJRoZE. 12 Id. 13 Rosenbaum A. et al., Analysis of Diesel Particulate Matter Health Risk Disparities in Selected US Harbor Areas (December 2011). Available at: 1.usa.gov/1J19XXT. 14 Id. 15 Based on 2010 Census (population, race, ethnicity) and 2006-2010 American Community Survey (income, poverty) 16 American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), U.S. Port Industry, America’s Ports: Gateways to Global Trade. Available at: bit.ly/1RkEJ0s. 17 Testimony of Dr. Geraldine Knatz, Executive Director, The Port of Los Angeles, on S.1499, The Marine Vessel Emissions Reduction Act of 2007, before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. (August 9, 2007). 18 The Maritime Executive, Panama Canal Expansion 95 Percent Complete (November 19, 2015). Available at: bit.ly/1X2U09A. MOVING FORWARD NETWORK MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS 1. Air Alliance Houston 2 Bay Area Healthy 880 Communities-SL 3. California Cleaner Freight Coalition 4. Charleston Community Research to Action Board (CCRAB) 5. Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice 6. Central California Environmental Justice Network 7. Central Valley Air Quality Coalition 8. Citizens for a Sustainable Future, Inc. 9. Clean Air Council 10. Clean Water Action, Clean Water Fund 11. Coalition for Healthy Ports (NYNJ) 12. Coalition for a Safe Environment 13. Coalition for Clean Air 14. Comite Civico Del Valle, Inc. 15. Diesel Health Project, Inc. 16. Earthjustice 17. East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice 18. End Oil, Inc. 19. Environmental Health Coalition 20. Environmental Integrity Project 21. Global Community Monitor 22. Georgia Research Environmental Economic Network (GREEN) Inc. 23. Harambee House, Inc. 24. Ironbound Community Corporation 25. Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma 26. Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, School of Public Health 27. National Nurses United 28. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) 29. New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance 30. Puget Sound Sage 31. Regional Asthma Management and Prevention (RAMP) 32. Respiratory Health Association 33. Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School 34. Rutgers University School of Management & Labor 35. Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition/ Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision 36. Steps Coalition 37. Sunflower Alliance 38. Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS) 39. The Center for the Urban Environment, Thomas Edison College 40. THE NEW SCHOOL 41. Union of Concerned Scientists 42. University of Southern California 43. University of Texas Medical Branch / Sealy Center for Environmental Health and Medicine 44. Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College 45. West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project


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