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Statement: Biden-Harris Action Plan for America’s Ports and Waterways

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Port of Baltimore
Cargo loading cranes at the Sea Girt and Dundalk Marine Terminals along the northeast shore of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River towards the Inner Harbor and downtown Baltimore © USDA / Bob Nichols

Washington, D.C. – The following statement was issued by Reggie Paros (@ReggieParos), director of Government Relations at Ocean Conservancy, in advance of President Biden’s visit to the Port of Baltimore where he will expand on the “The Biden-Harris Action Plan for America’s Ports and Waterways” today:   

“Ocean Conservancy welcomes President Biden’s planned visit to the Port of Baltimore today where he will discuss the administration’s strategy to invest in America’s ports and waterways from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

“While the immediate focus is on building resilient supply chains as we head into the upcoming holiday season, the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan also highlights critical investments in port infrastructure through the Port Infrastructure Development Program and the Marine Highways Program that will benefit our economy, local communities and the health of our climate and ocean.   

“America cannot waste this unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the resilience of our supply chain and tackle the carbon footprint of the maritime sector, currently responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the coal plants in the United States combined. 

“Ports are emission hotspots with pollution from at-berth vessels and supporting equipment like trucks. The impacts of light, air and water pollution on the health and economic well-being of communities around ports—many of them lower-income and communities of color—are disproportionately higher. For example, the California Air Resources Board estimates that air pollution from ports and goods movement causes 3,700 premature deaths in California each year. 

“These investments must significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. And we cannot stop there. Ocean Conservancy calls on Congress to approve the Build Back Better Act, which includes ambitious climate action and resources that our ports urgently need for America to move towards a zero-emission future.”   

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Ocean Conservancy experts are available for comment.  

 NOTES TO EDITOR  

  • “The Biden-Harris Action Plan for America’s Ports and Waterways” (link)
  • Ocean Conservancy’s report on “Zero-Carbon for Shipping: sailing carbon-free along North America’s West Coast” (link) highlights how ports along North America’s west coast can end their reliance on fossil fuels by adopting zero-carbon fuels.
  • A recent study from OC and UC Berkeley found that an investment of $18.5 billion to electrify US ports could create an average of nearly 32,000 jobs per year (or 316,737 job-years) over the next 10 years. (source)
  • By 2023, fossil fuel ships are projected to be the largest source of smog-forming nitrous oxide pollution at the Ports of LA and Long Beach, California. (source)
  • List of projects that would be eligible for funding through Port Infrastructure Development Program (note – this is in addition to the existing eligibility criteria, which includes more standard infrastructure needs that aren’t directly related to emission-reduction).
    • Port electrification or electrification master planning;
    • Harbor craft or equipment replacements/retrofits;
    • Development of port or terminal micro-grids;
    • Providing idling reduction infrastructure;
    • Purchase of cargo handling equipment and related infrastructure;
    • Worker training to support electrification technology;
    • Installation of port bunkering facilities from ocean-going vessels for fuels;
    • Electric vehicle charge or hydrogen refueling infrastructure for drayage, and medium or heavy duty trucks and locomotives that service the port and related grid upgrades; or
    • Other related to port activities including charging infrastructure, electric rubber-tired gantry cranes, and anti-idling technologies

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