White House Directs $3 Billion to Clean Ports Initiative

a busy port with cranes

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Mar 1, 2024

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The Biden-Harris administration announced the launch of the $3 billion Clean Ports Program to fund zero-emission equipment and infrastructure at United States ports.

The program is part of Biden’s Investing in America agenda, covering public and private sector investments for infrastructure projects. The funding also stems from the Inflation Reduction Act, which included numerous provisions regarding climate change mitigation plans and incentives for new clean energy projects. 

The Clean Ports Program aims to reduce diesel pollution from U.S. ports in surrounding communities. The program is also designed to help ports transition to zero-emissions operations. Ports are typically where large concentrations of diesel equipment converge, and they operate near where many people live, work, and play. The equipment can create air pollution that is harmful to humans and contributes to climate change.

“Communities living near America’s ports have borne the brunt of some of the worst air pollution coming from shipping, trucking, and maritime industries,” John Podesta, senior advisor to the president for international climate policy, said in a statement. “Today’s historic announcement from EPA is an investment in a cleaner, healthier future for those communities.”

The program’s funding includes two separate Notice of Funding Opportunities as part of the $3 billion. Nearly $2.8 billion is allocated for the Zero-Emission Technology Deployment Competition that will directly fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure to reduce mobile source emissions at U.S. ports. Eligible uses of the funding include human-operated and maintained zero-emission cargo handling equipment, harbor craft and other vessels, electric charging and hydrogen fueling infrastructure, and other technology investments.

Another $150 million is allocated to the Climate and Air Quality Planning Competition, which will fund climate and air quality planning activities at U.S. ports. That includes emissions inventories, strategy analysis, community engagement, and resiliency measure identification. 

The two grant competitions are open 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. Funding from the program can be used for both projects at water ports (coastal and inland) and projects at facilities where goods are transferred between rail cars and trucks (dry ports).

The launch of the new funding comes after EPA’s Ports Initiative and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act programs invested more than $196 million to implement 207 diesel emissions reduction projects at ports with an additional $88 million to multi-sector projects that involve ports.

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