Bay Area Air District, State announce additional $3 million to clean up Oakland port trucks
For immediate release
SACRAMENTO: The California Air Resources Board and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District today freed up an additional $3 million in grants for truckers and small businesses to comply with the state's Jan. 1 deadline for the state's port truck rule that will reduce toxic diesel emissions in and around port communities.
Truckers who made timely application for retrofit funding to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District but were denied when the money ran out, and who will be unable to enter the port when the new rule goes into effect, may be eligible for the grants. Those who meet all of the Proposition 1B eligibility criteria will receive an extension (expected in February) to operate their trucks at ports and rail yards until April 30.
"While the new emissions regulations for Port trucks embraces Oakland's goals of reducing environmental impacts, my office has been working collaboratively to provide the much-needed support for the truckers trying to comply with such regulations," said Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. "This announcement is a significant step in the right direction. As our region continues to find solutions amidst a severe national recession, I am deeply appreciative of the state's and local air district's continued efforts to partner with our city. Going forward, we are committed to working with our esteemed colleagues at the state and local level, and will continue to advocate on behalf of our truckers and the Port of Oakland with our partners in Washington D.C. to try to identify additional funding to meet our goals."
"The Bay Area Air District has been working tirelessly to get all available grant funding into the hands of truckers to clean up these trucks," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air District. "Cleaner trucks are good for the health of West Oakland residents and the truckers who service the port."
ARB will continue to work with the Bay Area District to allocate the additional voter-approved Proposition 1B funding to eligible truckers. The new funding will provide $5,000 per truck toward the cost of retrofitting the vehicle with a diesel soot filter, with a goal of cleaning up an additional 580 trucks operating at the Port of Oakland over the next four months. The air regulators will also continue to talk with particulate filter retrofit manufacturers about offering truckers flexible payment plans for the remaining costs of the devices that are not covered by the grants.
"In response to the request for a last minute reprieve, ARB and the District scoured all existing funds and were able to come up with an additional increment to ease the cost of compliance with this important public health rule," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "This funding will help the hundreds of truckers in the area who need a boost in cleaning up their trucks, create jobs in the green collar work force and, most importantly, provide crucial public health benefits."
Air quality officials laid out a five-step process for people who were previously denied retrofit funding for trucks serving the Port of Oakland:
- Come to the Bay Area Air District's trucker's information center office at 11 Burma Road in Oakland between 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily between Jan. 4 and Jan. 8;
- Express continued interest in receiving funding to Air District staff, at the $5,000 level. This information will be recorded and placed in the applicant's file;
- Be prepared to submit any additional required information to the Air District (ownership records, device quotes, proof of mileage, proof of port visits, etc.), before Jan. 22, if required;
- Be prepared for a truck pre-inspection to confirm eligibility; and,
- Be prepared to quickly line up the additional funding or financing to purchase a soot filter that complies with the port truck rule and that works on your truck.
The average cost of a particulate matter filter is $16,000, with the devices removing 85 percent of the diesel emissions from older trucks. With today's announcement, state, local and federal air agencies and ports now have provided $25 million in funding to help clean up more than 1,500 trucks at the Port of Oakland. Overall, ARB, local air districts, ports and the U.S EPA have contributed more than $188 million statewide to clean up port trucks in advance of the Jan. 1 deadline, half of which came from voter-approved Proposition 1B funds.
ARB passed the port truck rule in December 2007, which requires truck owners operating in and out of ports and intermodal rail yards to retrofit and replace their trucks over the next several years. ARB estimates that the regulation will prevent 580 premature deaths over the next five years, with benefits being the most dramatic in the communities where port trucks are heavily concentrated.
ARB passed an additional rule last December that will clean up the remaining truck fleet operating in California estimated at one million vehicles.
The ARB listed diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant over a decade ago in order to protect public health. Exposure to diesel soot emissions can increase the risk of lung cancer, plus asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. Through its diesel risk reduction strategy, ARB plans on reducing toxic diesel emissions in the state 85 percent by the year 2020.