EPA promotes improved air quality at Port of Houston

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced funding for the Port of Houston, in Texas, to improve air quality in the area. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy visited the port to award a $900,000 grant, one part of more than $2.1 million the agency has reserved for clean air projects in the EPA's Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas).

The funding is a part of the EPA's Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant program for clean diesel projects at U.S. ports. The money will support the expansion of the Houston-Galveston Drayage Truck Program implemented by the Port of Houston Authority and the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). Through this program, the port has replaced 200 trucks since 2009. The H-GAC has replaced 3000 heavy-duty vehicles since 2002.

"As the leading port in the nation for environmental stewardship, we are pleased with the announcement of the award of substantial EPA grants to improve regional air quality," said Port Commission Chairman Janiece Longoria. "As part of the Port Authority's strong commitment to environmental stewardship, we have worked to reduce emissions from our own operations and those of our tenants, as well as the broader Port of Houston."

The $900,000 EPA grant will be matched by drayage truck owners, and will be used to replace 25 older drayage trucks. These trucks operate in the Port of Houston and along the Houston Ship Channel. The replacement vehicles will have certified engines, model year 2011 or newer, and will be fitted with GPS units to collect data on port operations. The collected information will allow operators to seek out opportunities for fuel savings and emission reductions, incredibly important for the Houston-Galveston area, which does not currently meet all Clean Air Act standards.

Environmental consultants can also help Houston-Galveston area truck owners and operators find ways to comply with federal regulations and improve air quality.