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National Award for Green Flag Program

Vessel speed reduction project recognized for clean air progress

March 6, 2008

An innovative and successful program to reduce air pollution by slowing ship speeds has earned the Port of Long Beach a national environmental excellence award.

The Port’s voluntary "Green Flag" air quality initiative has been recognized by the National Association of Environmental Professionals with its Environmental Management Award. The award will be presented later this month at the organization’s annual conference in San Diego.

The award is given to organizations and programs that achieve "lasting contributions to improving environmental methods, improving the quality of the environment, and reducing impacts on the environment," said Jim Melton, President of the National Association of Environmental Professionals.

The two-year-old Green Flag program asks ships and vessel operators to voluntarily slow down to 12 knots or less within 20 nautical miles of the harbor, which greatly reduces fuel consumption and air pollution. Companies that achieve 90 percent compliance receive rebates on dockage fees, and vessels that achieve 100 percent compliance receive the prestigious Green Flag to fly on their ships.

In 2007 nearly 90 percent of the ships coming into and out of Long Beach terminals were in compliance with the Green Flag standards, reducing air pollution by about 600 tons a year.

In addition to the Port’s Green Flag program, the National Environmental Excellence awards recognized a coastal restoration plan in Louisiana, a transportation education effort in Denver and a California program to analyze growth-related impacts on transportation infrastructure. 

The Green Flag Incentive Program was approved by the Harbor Commission in 2005 in order to boost compliance with the Voluntary Vessel Speed Reduction Program, which was then around 60 percent. 


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