Port Of New York Goes Green; Staten Island Ferry Emissions Cut
Riding the Staten Island ferry is free, and from now it also will be cleaner as part of a regionwide effort to clean up the ports in the Northeast, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The federal agency has joined the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York City Department of Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in highlighting the cleanup of diesel emissions from one of the ferries that transports 19 million people to and from Staten Island each year.
Retrofitting the ferry Alice Austen has cut emissions of 16.5 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) per year and reduced particulate matter by 25 percent through the installation of selective catalytic reduction and diesel oxidation catalysts.
These pollutants may trigger asthma, lead to serious respiratory illnesses and other harmful health effects. Reducing emissions from diesel engines has been identified as a national priority by the EPA and is key to improving air quality.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York City Department of Transportation announced that they will retrofit more ferries in the fleet. The Port Authority agreed to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the New York City Department of Transportation to set a timeline to retrofit other Staten Island ferries. By 2007, three more ferries will be installed with equipment to cut NOx.
Port Authority Port Commerce Director Richard Larrabee said, “We take our role as environmental stewards of the port very seriously, and we believe it is very important to balance our port redevelopment with pro-environment programs. Since we began our 50-foot channel deepening program in 2004, we have launched the pilot program with the Staten Island ferries and the replacement of the tugboat engines, we have purchased environmentally sensitive land in the region for preservation, and we have worked with our port tenants to install modern, cleaner, electric-powered cranes.”
“In an effort to become a model green port,” said Larrabee, “we have embarked on a voluntary Green Port Program that includes implementing an Environmental Management System for our public berths and establishing a Green Practices Task Force with our tenants to identify initiatives to improve air and water quality, reduce waste and conserve energy. We will continue to explore areas where we can improve upon our strong environmental record.”
“New York and New Jersey Harbor provides the perfect venue to demonstrate ways to accelerate the pace of environmental protection while preserving a competitive economy,” said Alan Steinberg, EPA regional administrator. “Cleaning up the port will dramatically cut pollution and spur investments in technology. Our lungs and our pocketbooks will thank us!”
To encourage more such partnerships and creative approaches, EPA hosted a conference on Wednesday, as the first major effort of the Northeast Diesel Collaborative, a partnership of private, non-profit and government groups in New York, New Jersey and the six New England states working to reduce diesel emissions. The Northeast Diesel Collaborative will develop strategies to reduce diesel emissions from cars, trucks, buses, trains, boats and construction equipment.
Tomorrow’s ports workshop is part of a broader effort by the Northeast Diesel Collaborative to expand and develop regional partnerships to reduce diesel emissions and protect public health. Diesel exhaust releases into the air particulate matter, ozone-forming nitrogen oxides and other gases such as the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.