The supply chain shortages caused by the pandemic continue to be the focus of government, business and media attention. This has prompted the Biden administration’s 24/7 operation of the nation’s ports. As is often the case with environmental justice, the likely health consequences of the nation’s freight system for Black, Brown, Indian, and Asian-American communities near ports, railroads, train routes, and warehouses are often overlooked.
Since decades, scientists, doctors, and public-health experts have known that diesel exhaust from trains, trucks, and ships carrying goods to and from inland ports and sea ports can cause severe illnesses, premature deaths, and worsened asthma, heart disease, neurological disorders, and lung cancer. One doctor treated patients for years in the vicinity of one of the largest ports in the country, the area. diesel death zone.
Given its stated commitment to environmental justice, the Biden administration should be expected to effectively address the dilemma of how to combat the supply chain-induced inflation of congested ports and protect the significantly increased health risks of increased port traffic. The obvious solution is to dramatically increase the use zero-emission equipment. This includes all the vessels entering ports, as well as the cargo handling and docking vehicles, as well the rail terminals, and heavy-duty trucks that move goods to communities throughout the country. The technology has proven itself.
Apply President BidenJoe BidenJan. 6 defendants ask to subpoena Trump for trial testimony On The Money Breaking Down the January Job Boom Photos of the Week: Joe Biden and Punxsutawney Philip MOREWe could prevent further harm to the environmental justice communities by adopting a whole government approach. This includes requiring and supporting the rapid use of non-polluting machinery such as trucks, locomotives, and ships.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is currently reviewing its heavy-duty truck rule, has the opportunity to adopt it. If the White House and the EPAtruly prioritizeenvironmental justice, this truck rule would make certain that truck emissions rapidly reduce to zero,while requiring that by 2035, 100 percent of trucks sold be zero emission vehicles.
Fifteen statesThey have recognized the importance to move forward in the face of inaction. They signed a Memorandum of Understanding. It was a Pledge to Develop Action Plans to Eliminate Diesel Emissions by 2050. Although this is a positive development, it needs to be accelerated. It is no longer a technological problem to move to universal electric vehicle use. It takes political will and a sense of urgency. It is not difficult to take action to limit climate change damage. However, it is much shorter for communities near ports, who face the possibility of experiencing hyper-accelerated rates and premature deaths.
Over the past decade, scientific and public-health data have been published as well news coverage. These data show the continuing damage to all people who are exposed to truck exhaust every day. We also have evidence from the trucking industry that electric trucks reduce massive amounts CO2 and infer diesel fumes. According to the North America Council for Freight EfficiencyIts real-world study of 13 electric trucks that transport freight across North America found that electric trucks would save about 100 million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
A studyThe Union of Concerned Scientists, (UCS), and the Natural Resources Defense Council(NRDC) found that toxic nitrogen oxide (FPMs), as well as fine particulate material (FPMs), truck emissions would be substantially decreased in New Jersey, which is home to the nation’s second-largest ports complex. Electric trucks could thus save New Jerseyans and prevent 136,000 illnesses $11.6 billion.
We are currently facing an economic, public health, and environmental crisis that requires executive actions. Biden must lead the EPA and move forward with actionable programs and policies in freight transportation. This includes a strong heavy-duty truck rule. The Moving Forward Network, a national coalition representing environmental justice organizations, was established on Oct 26. The EPA provided freight sector recommendations to the EPAThat the Agency should be doing.
Failure to act will result in huge public health costs for low-income communities of color. This will be compounded by increased exposure to toxic pollutants and more illness as the country struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We have an administration that claims it can do it. They must now act.
Angelo Logan, the policy and campaign director at the Moving Forward Network is a national environmental justice coalition that includes sea-adjacent and inland port communities.