Seeking Environmental Justice in California’s “Diesel Death Zones”

Seeking Environmental Justice in California’s “Diesel Death Zones”

January 10,2020–Grist.org

Starting in October 2008, the Clean Trucks Program prohibited all truck models built before 1989 from accessing the ports. By 2012, any trucks that didn’t meet the 2007 Federal Clean Truck Emissions Standards were also barred. In 2018, any new trucks servicing the ports were required to be 2014 models or newer.As a result of the program, diesel particulate matter emissions at both ports have dropped 97 percent, nitrogen oxides (which form smog) have been reduced by 79 percent, and sulfur oxides (a component of acid rain) has fallen 91 percent, according to the Port of Long Beach. Both ports are now beginning to push for more near-zero or zero-emissions fleets and are considering offering rebates to drivers who update their trucks.“Turning over an entire fleet of trucks certainly made an impact on air quality,” Durum says, “It really did demonstrate the power of coalition-building, taking on a really ambitious challenge, and pushing forward a policy platform that was visionary in many ways and that aimed to be truly sustainable.” Efforts like the Clean Trucks Program at the San Pedro Bay Ports Complex and truck reroute out of neighborhoods like Mira Loma are avenues for environmental justice communities to start reclaiming their livelihoods. “This community for a while has felt very helpless,” Victoria says. “Being able to achieve a restricted truck route has given them a little glimmer of hope.

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