The Ports of Seattle, Tacoma and Everett had something to show off on Tuesday. They wanted leaders of agencies and reporters to see the results of five years of efforts to reduce their least appreciated export: bad air.
In 2005 they teamed up to sponsor an inventory of all of the various parts of their marine activity. They wanted to know how much the ships, the cranes, trucks, trains, etc. are pumping into the Puget Sound air shed.
The results were not good, so the next step was to reduce them. They used state and federal grants to offer incentives for owners of older trucks to trade them in on newer, cleaner trucks. They installed more electrical shore power so ships could use that instead of burning fuel in port. They also required those ships to use a higher grade fuel that burns cleaner. They rewarded port entities like Harley Marine, who switched to more efficient engines in their tugs and other equipment.
Add it all up and they told the group aboard a Harley Marine tug that the ports' most dangerous emissions were down by 15 percent.
They said they were just getting started but admit after getting the low hanging fruit, reducing emissions in the future, while increasing traffic, will be a challenge.