The California state legislature passed a landmark series of bills that provides $895 million toward programs that will reduce air pollution from mobile sources, which are responsible for 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the legislation allocates $250 million toward the Carl Moyer program, $140 million toward incentivizing cleaner emissions vehicles at the ports, and another $180 million towards the Clean Bus and Truck program, which underwrites Low-NOx natural gas engines.
Titled the “California Clean Air Initiative,” the bills will use cap-and-trade funds to replace harmful diesel engines in heavy-duty trucks and buses. According to the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, trucks, like the thousands that move goods from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, account for 33% of the state’s NOx emissions and 26% of diesel particulate matter that contributes to lung disease and other respiratory ailments.
“This is the largest investment to clean air in our state’s history, and will provide incentives to replace dirty diesel engines with cleaner-burning natural gas engines that will directly result in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the reduction of smog-forming pollutants,” said Thomas Lawson, president of the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition.
The passage of the Clean Air Initiative is particularly timely as the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are scheduled to vote on a Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) in early November. With funding now available, the final version of the plan can be made much more effective than previous versions through the use of incentives to remove diesel burning heavy-duty trucks and replace them with new trucks using low-NOx natural gas engines fueled by renewable natural gas. The current draft plan allows diesel trucks to continue operating in the ports for another 17 years.