SOUTH GATE – The mayors of five cities near polluted freeway corridors are calling for cleaner heavy duty trucks along those corridors. Studies have shown that corridors such as the 710 freeway that run near their cities have some of the worst air quality in the nation. Most of the region’s smog forming (or NOx) emissions come from the heavy duty transportation sector. Those most likely impacted are disadvantaged communities near or around major transportation corridors and ports. Studies also indicate that air pollution contributes to asthma, cancer and premature death, especially in children and the elderly.
South Gate Mayor Jorge Morales announced the advent of a critical breakthrough solution, along with Commerce Mayor Lilia Leon, Maywood Mayor Eddie De La Riva, Bell Mayor Ali Saleh and Compton Mayor Aja Brown on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at South Gate Park at the intersection of Pinehurst and Tweedy streets in South Gate.
The five mayors were joined by representatives from the California Energy Commission (CEC), the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) to explain this new solution to clean the air near and around their cities. They were also joined by representatives from Cummins Westport, the maker of an engine that has recently been certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency as 90% cleaner than traditional engines – the first “near zero” transportation technology ready to roll in the all-important heavy duty sector. The engine development funding came from the SCAQMD, CEC and SoCalGas.
Waste Management displayed one of its refuse trucks in a fleet of more than 4,500 natural gas trucks operating in North America with a Cummins Westport clean-burning engine.
The Waste Management trucks on the road today have nearly zero particulate emissions, cut greenhouse gas emissions by over 20 percent and are far quieter than their diesel counterparts.
“As a person who grew up with asthma, I’ve experienced firsthand the impacts of pollution in my community,” said South Gate Mayor Jorge Morales. “There is a solution that exists today to improve air quality in my city and in the surrounding region. We must act now to encourage cleaner technology within the heavy duty transportation industry so that my child and the children of South Gate can breathe cleaner air.”
“The City of Compton sits between multiple freeways and my constituents are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of poor air quality,” said Compton Mayor Aja Brown. “Today, we have an opportunity to deploy more clean trucks to greatly improve the quality of life for families and children in our cities.”
“The new Cummins Westport Inc. ‘ISL G NZ’ engine offers a commercially available option for California fleets to replace their aging vehicles with engines that have nitrogen oxide tailpipe emissions that are 90 percent lower than existing standards. The Energy Commission is pleased to be part of the public-private partnership that helped develop this new engine and looks forward to the expansion of this technology to other engine sizes and vehicle applications,” said Janea A. Scott, CEC Commissioner. “When combined with renewable natural gas, vehicles utilizing the advanced low NOx engine have the potential to come very close to being zero emission vehicles.”
“In Southern California, clean, zero-and near-zero emission vehicle technologies are critical for meeting federally mandated, health-based clean air standards, said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer for the SCAQMD.
“We’re pleased to be part of this effort. Natural gas is one of the most affordable and cleanest burning alternative fuels available today,” said Rodger Schwecke, vice president of Customer Solutions for SoCalGas. “Heavy-duty natural gas vehicles can reduce smog by about as much as 90 percent. We need to be part of the solution to help clean the air by giving incentives for the transition from polluting heavy-duty trucks to clean alternative fuel vehicles such as near-zero emissions trucks that run on natural gas.”
“Providing our customers with outstanding service with minimal impact to the environment is top priority for our company,” said Janine Hamner municipal and community relations manager for Waste Management of Southern California. “Since natural gas-powered collection trucks run cleaner and quieter, we’ve made the commitment to use more in our local operations as we work to keep communities clean in the most sustainable manner possible.”