FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Charleston, SC - The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) have extended their air quality partnership through 2018, more than a decade after first formalizing their cooperation to reduce port-related emissions.
The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the two agencies was the first of its kind in South Carolina and is the state’s longest-running collaboration on air quality within the public sector.
The new agreement continues work begun in 2007 to improve air quality in the area and expands the SCPA’s commitments to evaluate and implement ways to minimize emissions at the port and across the tri-county region. The MOA took effect on March 31 and runs through the fall of 2018, with the opportunity to renew.
“This is a great example of interagency cooperation at the state level to support job creation and improve quality of life for our citizens,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “As we continue to streamline processes to help businesses grow in our state, this voluntary collaboration helps the environment without adding red tape.”
“Our partnership with DHEC is an integral part of our overall environmental efforts, recognizing that a healthy, working port and a cleaner environment can be mutually compatible goals,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCPA. “The Port of Charleston today is known as a leader among ports in this region for environmental stewardship. We will continue to make environmental gains through efforts aligned with the competitiveness of our industry.”
As part of the agreement, DHEC will provide technical assistance and expertise in support of the SCPA’s operational improvements and environmental efforts.
"This agreement is above and beyond what the law requires,” said DHEC Director Catherine Templeton. “This collaboration is a practical example of pursuing economic development while taking voluntary measures to reduce impacts and responsibly protect the environment."
The SCPA has committed in the MOA to a number of specific air quality measures, which include:
The Port of Charleston was the first port in the region to commission a comprehensive air emissions inventory. The baseline inventory measured 2005 port-related air quality from the sea buoy to the county lines of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties - an area of roughly 2,500 square miles - and indicated that port-related emissions accounted for five percent or less of total pollutants in the area.
Subsequent inventories to measure 2011 and 2017 port-related air emissions will track the effect of the SCPA’s truck replacement program and repower projects for cargo-handling equipment as well as new federal fuel standards for ocean-going vessels calling North American ports. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the Emissions Control Area (ECA) regulation will reduce ship-related air pollution by up to 85 percent.
Since 2007, the local maritime community has successfully received Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to help implement more than $5.5 million in various retrofits, upgrades and engine replacements to container-handling equipment, trucks, tugs and other marine equipment.
In addition, the MOA recognizes operational productivity, such as low turn times for trucks, high crane production and the SCPA’s rail drayage program, as key to air emissions reduction. These efforts mean ships spend less time at the SCPA’s docks and trucks are processed in and out of the terminals more rapidly and log fewer empty miles on local roadways.
About the South Carolina Ports Authority:
The South Carolina Ports Authority, established by the state's General Assembly in 1942, owns and operates public seaport facilities in Charleston and Georgetown, handling international commerce valued at more than $63 billion annually while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. An economic development engine for the state, port operations facilitate 260,800 jobs across South Carolina and nearly $45 billion in economic activity each year. For more information, visit http://www.scspa.com.