SAN PEDRO, Calif. — April 21, 2010 — Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Chairman Richard A. Lidinsky, Jr. announced that the Port of Los Angeles has received the Chairman’s Earth Day Award for innovation and environmental leadership in developing and implementing its Clean Truck Program.  This is the first annual award given by the FMC Chairman for the nation’s top leaders on environmental issues in the ocean shipping industry.

“Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz and their team have shown real leadership in developing a Clean Truck program that, as the centerpiece of the Port’s Clean Air Action Plan, combines incentives with accountability to make our nation’s busiest liner shipping port complex more sustainable,” said Chairman Lidinsky. 

Chairman Lidinsky noted that in the first year since the Clean Truck Program began operating in October 2008, it reduced truck emissions at the Port of Los Angeles by 70 percent.  The 6,600 clean trucks, including 600 natural gas trucks, that are now operating at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will reduce particulate emissions by more than 30 tons per year, the equivalent of removing nearly 250,000 automobiles from Southern California’s highways for a year.

“Earth Day is a time to celebrate the achievements we have made while also renewing our commitment to fight for cleaner waterways and beaches, better air quality, and renewable energy sources,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.  “This award is a great honor to all those who have worked so hard to implement the Clean Truck Program with such incredible results.  Cleaning the air around the Port has been and continues to be one of my administration’s top priorities. The program – already a model for other ports around the country looking to go green – will provide the kind of long-term accountability and sustainability needed for continued success.”

“I’d like to thank Chairman Richard Lidinsky and the Federal Maritime Commission for choosing the Port of Los Angeles for this prestigious inaugural award,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.  “We’re proud of the results of the Clean Truck Program and the many other environmental initiatives at the Port.  Earth Day is an appropriate time to restate our long-term commitment to provide a cleaner, healthier environment for the communities surrounding the port complex.”

Chairman Lidinsky added: “One of my top priorities at the Federal Maritime Commission is advancing the Obama Administration’s goals of creating green jobs and seeking a more sustainable approach to maritime issues.  And the Port of Los Angeles has been piloting the way on these issues.  I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Villaraigosa and Director Knatz as a helpful partner.”

Chairman Lidinsky also noted that the Port of Los Angeles has embraced and promoted the provision of dock-side Alternative Maritime Power, or “cold-ironing,” for both cargo and passenger vessels; electric and alternative fuel drayage vehicles through demonstration projects; the first hybrid tug in operation in the United States; wildlife habitat promotion and restoration; and water quality and conservation measures. 

The FMC Chairman’s Earth Day Award recognizes members of the ocean transportation community for their innovation, leadership, and success in developing and implementing sustainable shipping practices.  With the assistance of the Maritime Environmental Committee’s leader, the Chairman selected the recipient based on the following criteria: (1) innovation in design of sustainability-enhancing incentives, measurement, and accountability; (2) effectiveness in increasing sustainability, efficiency, and reducing environmental impacts; and (3) anticipated creation of green jobs through efficient ocean commerce that grows in a sustainable manner.

The Federal Maritime Commission is the federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of the American consumer.  The Commission’s Maritime Environmental Committee advises the Chairman and the Commission on sustainable shipping practices, environment-related agreements and operational initiatives, and encourages the creation of green jobs in the maritime industry.

The Port of Los Angeles Clean Truck Program and its partners recently received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 Environmental Justice Award. The EPA said the Port’s Clean Truck Program “sets the environmental bar worldwide for other port facilities to improve air quality to neighboring communities.” Additionally, Environment Now, a Southern California private nonprofit foundation, recognized the Port’s Clean Truck Program as the 2009 top air quality achievement in its Top Achievements Report.