Gov. Gregoire at Port of Tacoma to celebrate clean-air projects

Gov. Chris Gregoire today joined Bill Deaver, chief executive officer for Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. at the Port of Tacoma to celebrate the completion of the first round of projects to reduce diesel emissions at area ports funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

With $121,000 in ARRA funds, TOTE retrofitted 25 yard trucks at its Tacoma facility with exhaust devices that will reduce tailpipe particles by up to 65 percent per vehicle. The TOTE project created one position, and funded two additional full-time jobs.

Eagle Marine Services at the Port of Seattle has also completed work to retrofit 19 yard trucks with the exhaust devices. Total cost for the work completed at both ports is $218,000.

According to a report prepared by staff in the Air Quality Program at Ecology, air pollution contributes to the deaths of about 1,100 people a year in Washington state.

In all, the state Department of Ecology will distribute $1.2 million in ARRA funds to the ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver USA to reduce diesel emissions. Work is already under way to retrofit 119 pieces of cargo-handling equipment, with work expected to begin soon on an additional 276 pieces of equipment.

The department will distribute an additional $300,000 to school districts, public utilities, transit authorities and the Washington State Department of Transportation to further reduce emissions. The school districts and transit authorities will add pre-heaters with timers on some bus engines to conserve fuel to warm up on cold days. WSDOT will buy energy-efficient LEDs to replace bulbs in emergency road signs now powered by idling engines. And public utility companies will install control modules with deep-cycle batteries to help power emergency road signs.