Seaports Magazine - Winter 2014 - (Page 31)

» GUEST VIEWPOINT Why You Should Love Your Local Environmentalist I By Elena Craft Environmental Defense Fund n recent years, environmentalists and public health professionals have asked ports to play an increasingly larger role in implementing strategies and following best practices to reduce harmful air emissions from port activities. Even though most ports do not own the ships, trucks and rail cars that visit their facilities, emissions generated by equipment that powers the global supply chain threaten public health, especially in communities and neighborhoods nearest to the activity. While ports have wrangled with environmental groups in the past, there can be a mutually beneficial path forward for growing a meaningful and lasting relationship. Some of the most tangible reasons to love your local environmental organization include: * Environmental groups are good grant partners. Many of the funding opportunities available to ports require that the port partner with local communities directly or demonstrate how specific projects will benefit the region. In fact, 25 percent of the scoring rubric on the U.S. EPA's most recent request for proposals through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program is based on demonstration of "benefits to communities and public health" and "partnerships." Applications for this latest round of funding, specifically targeted toward ports, are due mid-December1. Now would be a great time to pick up the phone and call your favorite non-profit partner! * Environmental groups can assist or facilitate relationship building within the community. Many environmental groups have a strong relationship with the communities near ports and can facilitate dialogue regarding needs and concerns of those who live near ports. Better understanding your neighbors and those most immediately influenced by port activities and operations can be valuable as the port undergoes discussions around expansion or dredging projects. Similarly, ongoing efforts by EPA and others to recognize best management practices at ports can help communities better understand how ports are improving their environmental footprint. * Research done by environmental groups can assist in planning and executing projects at the port. Science should serve as the backbone for environmental advocacy at ports. Organizations with a focus on the science of achieving improved environmental performance can provide the foundation by which to demonstrate new technologies or strategies. Recently, Environmental Defense Fund sponsored a research project by graduate students at MIT's Sloan School Management and the Port of Oakland to study the greening of rubber-tired gantry cranes2. The project provided a robust scientific analysis of the potential technologies that might be used to repower these goods movement workhorses at ports, while also addressing economic considerations. * Environmental groups can advocate for policies that improve quality of life near ports. Advocating policies that benefit the environment and improve public health, such as designation of the North American emission control area (ECA), can level the playing field for environmental policies and provide significant benefits for all ports. Environmental groups worked hand in hand with many ports to encourage the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to secure a 200-nautical mile emission reduction zone for ships visiting North American ports. The result? Reductions of 23 percent nitrogen oxides (NOx), 86 percent sulfur oxides (SOx), and 74 percent of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) below predicted levels in 2020 absent the ECA. The best part of these reductions is that they are expected to translate into monetized health-related benefits of as much as $110 billion in the U.S. in 20203. At the end of the day, the work that we do collectively is needed - and important. Over half of all Americans live in areas that do not meet federal health quality standards for criteria air pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter. Those who manage operations at ports have the power to make a real difference. There is tremendous gratification in pioneering operational strategies or highlighting new technologies that result in more efficient port operations and improved quality of life for everyone working around the port. As the country grapples with implementing carbon standards, increasing efficiency across every sector, and rejuvenating our nation's power grid and transportation highways, we have a critical opportunity to solidify a foundation for a sustainable path forward. This time will define our legacy to the next generation - let's do everything we can to make the world a better place for them. ● Elena Craft is a senior health scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund. She can be reached at 1 http://w w 2 3 otaq-14-07.pdf documents/s-lab-projects/EDF-Report-2014.pdf ci/420f10015.pdf WINTER 2014 * WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM 31 http://WWW.AAPASEAPORTS.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Winter 2014

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
What Will Ports Look Like in the Future?
Opportunities Abound for Ports Amid Shifting Trade Lanes
The Port Executive of the Future
Port of Houston Hosts Seaport Leaders for AAPA’S Annual Convention
Always Striving for Excellence
U.S. Must Continue to Strengthen Port and Waterways Infrastructure
Winners Honored in AAPA’s 2014 IT, Environmental Improvement and Communications Awards Programs
Keeping your Cyber Systems Healthy Now and in the Future
Why You Should Love Your Local Environmentalist
U.S. Needs to Play ‘Catch Up’ on Infrastructure Investment
Index of Advertisers

Seaports Magazine - Winter 2014