On The Road Towards Electrifying NJ Ports

Trenton, NJ – The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has announced it is seeking approval of a second round of funding from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trustee for the disbursement of $16 million for the deployment of electric heavy-duty garbage trucks, school buses, and port-related vehicles. Clean Water Action’s State Director, Amy Goldsmith, issued the following statement:

“Clean Water Action sees the NJDEP announcement today as a huge step towards improving air quality in environmental justice and port-adjacent communities, like Newark, Elizabeth, and Jersey City.

Clean Water Action and the Coalition for Healthy Ports have been pressing the Governor, NJDEP, PANYNJ and more recently the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to act. Electrifying the ports is essential to protecting the health of local residents, kids and port workers/drivers who have no alternative to breathing port diesel fumes from the over 15,000 drayage trucks that go in and out of Port of NY&NJ every day.

It has been a roller coaster ride. We have pushed port electrification in every conversation and relevant policymaking opportunity. As a result, the Governor, BPU, Senator Smith and NJDEP have included port electrification when they mention electric vehicles (EV). Now their rhetoric is turning into tangible pilot tangible projects such as those announced today.

The projects to be funded if approved by the Trustees include:

  • Red Hook Terminals LLC, Port Newark, 10 electric yard tractors;
  • United Airlines, Newark Airport, 39 electric ground support equipment;
  • IKEA Distribution Services North America, four electric terminal tractors and five “last mile” electric delivery trucks in Westampton, Camden, Jersey City, Hoboken, and Cherry Hill;
  • Best Transportation, Port Newark, four electric yard tractors;
  • International Motor Freight, Port Newark, one electric drayage (short distance shipping) truck;
  • Hudson County Motors Inc., Essex and Hudson counties, four electric drayage trucks;
  • City of Jersey City, five electric garbage trucks;
  • Regional Industries LLC, Elizabeth, five electric garbage trucks;
  • Student Transportation of America Inc., Trenton, five electric school buses

The first round of NJ funding from the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust included $11.2 million for charging stations and electric transit buses for NJ TRANSIT’s use in Camden. NJ’s total share of the federal settlement ($72.2 million) is to resolve claims that Volkswagen’s vehicle emissions control devises reported lower than actual emission levels when tested.

If funded and these pilots lead to larger scale electrification of goods movement, it will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions that contribute to ground level ozone. Ozone irritates and scars the lungs, increases asthma attacks, and make people more vulnerable to lung diseases. NJ is currently a non-attainment state for ozone per the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act.

The State of New Jersey is on the right road towards clean air and healthier tomorrows. This is a great start.”

To learn more about Clean Water Action, CHP campaign and reports, go to https://www.cleanwateraction.org/features/coalition-healthy-ports-ny-nj

 

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Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress. Clean Water Action has 150,000 members in NJ and nearly 1 million nationwide.  www.cleanwater.org/nj

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