Port commissioners approve polluting trucks ban
on October 7, 2009
After listening to more than a dozen passionate speakers, Oakland Port Commissioners last night approved a ban next year on trucks that don’t comply with new clean air standards.
The ban on polluting trucks, goes into effect Jan. 1, will require seaport facility operators to deny entry to trucks with engine model years earlier than 1994, or those with engine model years between 1994 and 2003 that have not met standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Some West Oakland residents, whose neighborhood abuts the Port, have been complaining for years about polluting trucks traveling in and out of the facility.
To address safety, security, air quality, and business, Port commissioners last June adopted a truck management program to prepare for the ban on trucks. The commissioners developed their proposal after evaluating ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, and said banning dirty trucks would enhance the long-term sustainability of the Port, its neighboring communities and, most importantly, the environment.
“We need to make sure that when people come to Oakland, they know our standards,” said Margaret Gordon, the second vice president of the Port of Oakland.
The commissioners are going beyond the requirements of CARB, which requires only that a record be kepr of noncompliant trucks. In Oakland, under the new rules, trucks that don’t meet CARB standards willl be turned away.
But there are two exceptions in the proposal, which allows some flexibility between the Port and the truck drivers. Trucks carrying overweight and oversized cargo, as well as drivers claiming urgent circumstances–which will be decided at the discretion of the seaport facility operator–are allowed a one-time, one-day pass into the Port. The one-day pass allows some clemency for truck drivers who are traveling from out of state and may not know the rules.
If the seaport facility operator allows a truck to enter into the seaport, information such as the business and contact name, as well as the operator’s name and driver’s license number, will be kept in a continuous log. Some members of the community felt tthe Port should take a stricter stand, turn away all dirty trucks, and not allow exceptions.
A man from a community organization called the West Oakland Neighbors said he did not want to have to worry about pollution for himself or his children’s children. A woman representing the Oakland-Berkeley Asthma Coalition said she worries the smog caused by dirty trucks will cause even more frequent cases of asthma in children. “There are more and more cases of asthma in children every year, and they should not be filling up Oakland’s Children Hospital,” she said.
Trucking executives present at the meeting agreed that trucks should be checked to make sure they are not polluting Oakland’s air, but said they did not want the community to think they are negligent.
Three trucking executives brought a flyer that had been passed out the day before, by a group calling itself the Coalition for a Clean and Safe Port, which the executives siad contained inaccuracies. “The shipping and cargo industry refuses to clean up their pollution by taking responsibility for a clean truck fleet,” the flyer read.
“Don’t believe it,” said one man with “Oakland Trucking” embroidered on his hat, t-shirt and jacket. “It’s a bunch of crap.”
One of the last men to speak stood up at the podium, but did not take the full two minutes to talk. “Keep it simple — clean trucks,” he said, and walked away.
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