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Colorado Lagoon Restoration Funding Approved

Board also OKs Green Flag extension, clean truck exemption

December 18, 2009

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners approved a $1.3 million advance payment on December 14 to the City of Long Beach to help pay for the first phase of the Colorado Lagoon Restoration Project.

In other actions, the Board extended the successful Green Flag program for another year, and approved a plan to help truck drivers transition to the tougher environmental requirements scheduled for January 1, 2010.

The Port's Colorado Lagoon funding will help pay for the installation of devices to divert polluted runoff away from the lagoon and maintenance of the underground connection to Marine Stadium.

As a coastal habitat restoration project, the lagoon is an expense that the Port can fund in exchange for credits that the Port could use later should it need to take habitat in the Port area for development projects.

The Port in February had already agreed to provide $300,000 to help pay for engineering studies for the second phase of the project, which intends to restore tidal flow to the lagoon.

Clean Trucks Action

The Board also approved a limited exemption of the pending Clean Trucks Program deadline until April, allowing some older trucks to operate past January 1, 2010 if their replacements have been ordered, but not received, under government incentive programs. The action was taken following a similar move by the California Air Resources Board regarding statewide rules for drayage trucks.

Trucks with 1993 engines or older will be banned from entering Port terminals starting on the first of the year. Trucks with engine model years 1994 to 2003 will be allowed access only if equipped with approved diesel emission control systems.

The program has already replaced most of the fleet servicing the Port with cleaner, less polluting trucks. By January 1 an estimated 8,000 dirty trucks will have been forever banned from the Port of Long Beach.

Although the new ban will still go into effect on January 1, an estimated 1,300 new trucks receiving government incentive grants, such as the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Proposition 1B program, will not be ready for delivery before the end of the year.

For trucking companies who are awaiting these new trucks, the deadline is now extended to April 30, 2010. Trucking companies who have signed contracts for new trucks under these grant programs will be allowed to operate their older trucks until the new deadline or when their new trucks are available, whichever comes first.

Green Flag Extension

The Board of Harbor Commissioners also approved a year’s extension for the successful Green Flag Program, in which cargo ships improve air quality by slowing their speed near the Port of Long Beach.

The Port’s Green Flag Program offers a reduction incentive on dockage for vessels that slow down to 12 knots near the Port – 15 percent for those that slow from 20 nautical miles, and 25 percent for those that slow from 40 nm.

The program, which is voluntary, has a 93 percent participation of vessels from 20 nm, and 70 percent from 40 nm. Estimated air pollution reductions for 2009 include avoided emissions of more than 2,000 tons of smog-forming compounds and diesel particulates. The program will cost an estimated $2.5 million in 2010.

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