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AAPA applauds launch of $3 billion Clean Ports Program


The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has welcomed this week’s launch by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of a $3 billion Clean Ports Program to help fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure.

“America’s seaports are charting a cleaner future with $50 billion worth of planned alternative energy projects that need funding,” said Cary Davis, the AAPA CEO. “The industry is beyond thrilled to apply for federal investments.”

But Mr. Davis sounded a cautionary note on the buy-American requirements. A strict implementation of the procurement rules will slow down progress because America’s own supply chain for electric port equipment is limited.

“We strongly support EPA’s efforts to allow for sourcing from our allies because it is ultimately great for growing a prosperous America,” the AAPA stressed.  

Established under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the program aims to advance environmental improvement by reducing diesel pollution from U.S. ports in neighboring communities, while at the same time creating well-paying jobs.

The EPA has issued two separate Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) totaling nearly $3 billion as part of the announcement. The Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition, with nearly $2.8 billion, will fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure. The Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition, with approximately $150 million, will fund climate and air quality planning activities.

The funding is available to port authorities, state, regional, local, or tribal agencies that have jurisdiction over a port authority or port, air pollution control agencies, and private entities that apply in partnership with an eligible entity. The funds can be used for projects at water ports (coastal and inland) as well as projects at facilities where goods are transferred between rail cars and trucks (dry ports).

The funding opportunities, part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, were announced by EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, at an event in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“Our nation’s ports are among the busiest in the world, helping us to create good jobs here in America, move goods, and grow our economy,” said Mr. Regan.

Antonio Santos, Federal Climate Policy Director at Pacific Environment, said the funding will help save lives and help transition ports to a zero-emissions. “The $3 billion in funding will move ports off of fossil fuels and instead use clean technologies like electrification and hydrogen fuel cells. It is imperative that we protect port workers and frontline communities from further exposure to harmful air pollution,” said Mr. Santos.

 (Port of Long Beach photo)