Saturday, February 27, 2010

Freight Hauliers Must Clean Up Their Act As US Trucks Come Under Fire Again

Battle To Remove Pollution from US Ports Moves Northward
Shipping News Feature

US – Despite much wrangling the pollution statistics around the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles speak for themselves. Even critics of the way California has introduced clean air regulation, and these include trucking bodies who lost a Court appeal on Wednesday over the contentious issue of independents having to be employees of LA port approved organisations, must admit that the quantity of atmospheric pollutants in the air has fallen dramatically with newer or modified vehicles mandatory and improvements in fuel grades employed by shipping companies.

Now the same fight is being taken on by other major ports around the States. The statistics being bandied about, and these are obviously subjective in many instances, show 70% reductions in particulate emissions and aim at reducing pollution related deaths by almost 50% in Californian port regions, that equates to 1200 or so lives saved annually.

The next phase is sure to see more parties claiming that blanket rules for lower emission vehicles, plus a nationwide standard for truck fuel, is the only way to ensure problems, transport contracts and extra costs, are not simply transferred around the country. One of the strongest arguments for haulage representatives like the American Truck Associations (ATA) against local fuel standards such as those proposed by California, is that it will ensure more expensive product locally whilst the lower grades and prices will simply give other states a financial advantage.

The deals thrashed out by the opposing parties still face some action through the Courts but slowly things are improving without a great degree of rancour, principally because neither side actually disagrees, everyone wants cleaner air, it’s just a matter of methods, timing and who pays the bill. Meanwhile the cries of oppression by minority ethnic groups who have traditionally supplied lower cost services with owner drivers in older, more polluting vehicles, and who in their own way personify the American dream, are being swept away in the drive for stricter controls.

Now New York is set to battle the polluters and public opinion is firmly on the side of the campaigners. Anyone who doubts the veracity of their arguments can view a short film of Kim Thompson-Gaddy explaining the problems that she, as an asthmatic with three children who also suffer from the condition, is subjected to. The argument supporting poorer communities who supply cheaper transport solutions may well be more than countered by the suffering of the same section of society that lives in the dockside shadows.

For full background information on this topic simply type pollution into the News search facility to review previous articles.