of Californians live with air that threatens their health.
years of your life may be lost due to living with unhealthy air.
In-depth studies on air quality issues
Moving California Forward, Zero and Low-Emissions Freight Pathways
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View the Full Report (1.8 MB)
View the Technical Appendix (662 KB)
Freight transportation in California creates air pollution that harms the health of communities exposed to its dangerous emissions and contributes to global warming. A new study commissioned by the California Cleaner Freight Coalition, Moving California Forward, Zero and Low-Emissions Freight Pathways, evaluates strategies for modernizing how goods are moved through California. By evaluating alternatives to conventional diesel vehicles, the analysis aims to inform a statewide plan for cleaning up freight transportation.
The key report findings include:
The Coalition cautions that any shift in freight movement to rail or ship, while providing regional pollution benefits, would need to ensure reduction in emissions, exposure, and health risks to those communities close to rail yards, rail lines, ports and shipping lanes.
Many of the report’s proposals can be achieved with technologies that are either available today or can be commercialized over the next several years—with appropriate investments and support from policymakers. The California Cleaner Freight Coalition urges the California Air Resources Board to adopt a sustainable freight plan in 2014.
The California Cleaner Freight Coalition is a collaborative partnership of organizations committed to an inclusive membership, honest dialogue, respect for differences, and transparent decision-making. The Coalition includes grassroots environmental justice, environmental, science, and health groups. The mission of the California Cleaner Freight Coalition is to create transformational changes to the freight transportation system in California in order to protect the public’s health, clean the environment, and promote social justice and equity.
Read the accompanying press release here.
Shipping Clean, Growing Green
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Current measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the port and freight transport sector—such as AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006—have contributed to job creation and the emergence of new markets throughout California. The companies that operate and manufacture those clean technologies are spurring progress, battling climate change and strengthening California’s economy.
California’s ports are economic engines, commercial gateways for the country, and dangerous hotspots of toxic diesel pollution. Freight transportation accounts for nearly 10 percent of GHG emissions in the United States.
Growth is returning to the port sector. Shipping lanes are again filling up, and cargo traffic is rising. As the economic engine of port trade returns to full speed, it must run on clean fuel.
Despite cuts in smog forming pollution and diesel soot at California ports, more must be done to reduce GHGs, which are not declining in correlation to other pollutants. When adjusted for the economic downturn, GHG emissions at the Port of Long Beach actually increased by 4 percent between 2005 and 2009. This illustrates the need for specific and comprehensive GHG emission-reduction plans for the port sector.
This report profiles clean technology pioneers—manufacturers and operators—that exemplify the environmental and economic benefits of AB 32. In order to ensure that economic growth continues in the port and freight transport sector and that GHG emissions are further reduced, CCA recommends that:
California influences market demand far beyond its borders. Together, with environmental and community organizations, the private sector and government agencies have begun to lay the regulatory foundation to dramatically reduce GHG pollution from the port and freight transport sector. This partnership is important not only for reducing the impacts of climate change, but for boosting the economy as well.
This report showcases the economic advancements made by companies implementing cleaner technologies, and it is meant to encourage others to take similar, immediate steps. Solutions to our climate crisis are available today. There are costs associated with investment in these technologies; nevertheless, the cost savings associated with reduced fuel consumption and maintenance—not to mention the lives saved by reducing diesel particulate emissions—far outweigh the initial outlay.
The Plane Truth: Air Quality Impacts of Airport Operations and Strategies for Sustainability
A Case study of the Los Angeles World Airports
June 2010, Colleen Callahan
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Aviation is one of the most energy intensive and polluting modes of transportation. Air pollution emissions from the aviation sector are likely to increase by 140-200 percent by 2025, unless aggressive actions are taken to control and reduce aviation‘s environmental footprint.
This comprehensive report is a first step for community advocates to develop a campaign to reduce air pollution from airports in the Los Angeles region. Its findings also highlight serious air pollution problems that impact thousands of communities across the United States.
Among the report’s key findings is the high level of lead emissions from aviation gasoline (avgas), which is used in piston-engine, normally non-commercial aircraft that frequent generation aviation airports. These emissions pose a health risk to approximately 3 million children and 16 million adults who live or attend school near the almost 20,000 U.S. airports frequented by piston-engine aircraft.
CCA and several allies have sent a letter to comment on the U.S. EPA’s Proposed Rulemaking on Lead Emissions from Piston-Engine Aircraft Using Leaded Aviation Gasoline. We will track the EPA‘s rulemaking process and advocate for measures that will protect communities near airports.
EPA sign-on letter (800k)
There are three airports within an approximately five-mile area in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County that are frequented by general aviation aircraft. These airplanes use leaded fuel.
Getting to Work: Your clean air commute
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Angelenos are known for their love-hate relationship with driving: they love their cars but hate their commutes. How can workers turn their daily trek to and from the workplace into a clean air commute? This report by the Coalition for Clean Air (CCA) details proven programs and best practices which can help clean up rush hour. It is intended as a guide for employers, policymakers and workers alike.
This report’s research repeatedly found that clean air commuting:
Expanding transportation options for our work force has multiple benefits beyond simply reducing the pollution that comes from driving. Clean air commute options help ease rush-hour traffic congestion, lower employee stress, increase employer profitability, reduce expenditures for our road and highway systems and make our local economy more sustainable.
Container Fees and Commercial Benefits of Improved Waterborne Goods Movement Infrastructure in California
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Improvements in rail infrastructure in and around the ports will enhance the feasibility and attractiveness of rail as a means of transportation directly into and out of
Cargo on the Move through California
Evaluating container fee impacts on port choice
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In many coastal areas, marine freight traffic contributes significantly to overall air pollution levels. This is particularly true in the vicinity of major marine ports in
To address these emissions and public health concerns, some regions of the country are considering requiring environmental control technologies and/or clean fuels for ships. Other approaches to fund investments that will address these concerns include the application of port user fees (PUF) per shipping container on ships, where such fees may be used to enhance cargo security, to increase freight mobility by reducing rail congestion, and to mitigate air pollution and environmental damages caused by ship emissions and other freight modes.
There is a concern that ports applying port user fees per shipping container will be put at some economic disadvantage compared to ports without such fees. The fear is that these fees will drive ship traffic away from the PUF ports and towards the non-PUF ports. The key question is: Given the economic structure of marine shipping on the West Coast, are such diversions likely to occur if fees were assessed at
Harboring Pollution: Strategies to Clean up U.S. Ports
Marine ports are among the most poorly regulated sources of pollution in the United States. In March 2004, NRDC and CCA issued report cards for the 10 largest U.S. ports on their efforts to control pollution, or their lack thereof. Shortly after since the grades were issued, steps were made to reduce port pollution. For example, the first container ship in the world plugged into shoreside power at the Port of Los Angeles.
This report discusses: solutions to port pollution problems and provides additional information on the health and environmental impacts of port operations; an overview of policies governing U.S. marine ports; and detailed analysis and technical recommendations to port operators, regulatory agencies, and community-based environmental and health advocates.
Harboring Pollution: The Dirty Truth about U.S. Ports
Marine ports in the United States are major hubs of economic activity and major sources of pollution. Enormous ships with engines running on the dirtiest fuel available, thousands of diesel truck visits per day, mile-long trains with diesel locomotives hauling cargo, and other polluting equipment and activities at marine ports cause an array of environmental impacts that can seriously affect local communities and the environment. These impacts range from increased risk of illness, such as respiratory disease or cancer, to increases in regional smog, contamination of water, and the blight of local communities and public lands.
Marine ports are now among the most poorly regulated sources of pollution in the United States. This report assesses efforts at the 10 largest U.S. ports to control pollution, and provides an overview of policy and practical pollution mitigation recommendations.
A follow-up report will offer detailed analysis of our technical recommendations for the benefit of port operators, regulatory agencies, and community-based environmental and health advocates.
Environmental Report Cards for 10 U.S. Ports
No Breathing in the Aisles
How diesel school buses threaten our children’s health
It’s a common occurrence to see and smell a black cloud of smoke rising from behind a diesel school bus. We expect that inhaling these fumes outside the bus would be dangerous for our health—and it is. But does that same diesel exhaust pose a risk to children sitting inside the bus on their way to and from school? We initiated this study of diesel exhaust levels inside school buses to answer this question in light of the overwhelming evidence that diesel exhaust causes cancer and premature death and exacerbates asthma and other respiratory illnesses. The results were startling: A child riding inside of a diesel school bus may be exposed to as much as four times the level of toxic diesel exhaust as someone standing or riding beside it. Read the report to learn what your community can do to clean up school buses.
Failing the Grade
A ride on a school bus may threaten children’s health
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Ironically, the very transportation system that carries California’s most precious resource - our children - can be characterized as the most aged, least funded, and one of the most polluting fleets in the nation. California lags behind many other states in turning over its school bus fleets. The age and diesel dependence of California’s school buses is especially troubling because children are more susceptible to the health effects of air pollution than adults. Unlike adults, a child’s organs, including the brain, lungs, and reproductive system, are in a constant state of development and do not reach full maturation until well past puberty. Due to the body’s immaturity, a child is far less capable of defending herself from airborne pollutants and toxics that can penetrate deep into her respiratory tract and other vital organs, causing serious illnesses like asthma and retarding lung development.
Exhausted By Diesel
How America’s dependence on diesel engines threatens our health
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Everyone is familiar with the black cloud that belches out of some diesel trucks and buses when they accelerate. This choking cloud is not only offensive, but growing evidence shows that it is also a health hazard. Diesel exhaust contains hundreds of constituent chemicals, dozens of which are recognized human toxicants, carcinogens, reproductive hazards, or endocrine disruptors; it is also a major source of tiny sooty particles which have been linked to respiratory disease, heart disease and death.
Facilities with heavy truck traffic are exposing local communities to diesel exhaust concentrations far above the average levels in outdoor air. These affected communities, and the workers at these distribution facilities with heavy diesel truck traffic, are bearing a disproportionate burden of the health risks and are paying the price for our society's addiction to diesel engines.