Port Houston will use less-polluting equipment for Ship Channel expansion
Port Houston commissioners have chosen to hire a company that will use less-polluting equipment and reduce the total amount of harmful emissions expected from their yearslong project to widen and deepen the Ship Channel, reports the Houston Chronicle's Emily Foxhall.
The project had been slated to use older diesel-powered dredges that could have released extra toxic air pollution — the equivalent of those from a new oil and gas refinery — on nearby communities already facing increased cancer risk, even for children, and some of the highest rates of pollution exposure in the eight-country region. It's "an important first step," Stephanie Thomas with Public Citizen says: “The port’s action demonstrates a necessary commitment to community health and the environment that we’d like to see going forward through the rest of the project.”
In response, Elena Craft, senior director for climate and health with Environmental Defense Fund, said:
"Port Houston can protect nearby families from harmful air pollution and help to make their communities healthier places to live while growing economic opportunity for everyone. It requires leadership. We are encouraged to see the port commissioners’ decision to utilize cleaner dredges for the first phase of deepening and widening the Houston Ship Channel. As city and county leaders work to achieve urgent climate goals, from electrifying our public transit to transitioning to renewable sources of our energy, we are hopeful that the port commissioners envision a future beyond this one project, seizing opportunities to begin their necessary transition and retire the oldest, dirtiest trucks, trains and other equipment from our region."
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