Ports Authority-DHEC partnership cuts emissions at port

CHARLESTON, SC - CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina State Ports Authority and the Department of Health and Environmental Control Wednesday extended a voluntary agreement that, in the past, has reduced port-related air emissions.

Through a partnership, the two agencies have worked together over the past three years to implement programs that cut emissions associated with the port's existing and future facilities and improve air quality in the Charleston region.

In a visit to the port this month, EPA assistant administrator Gina McCarthy lauded the SCSPA's proactive approach to cutting emissions both on its facilities and beyond the port's footprint.

Since the partnership started in March 2007, the SCSPA and DHEC have brought on various emissions reductions that impact both current and future facilities including switching to ultra-low diesel fuels, reducing emissions from cargo-handling machinery and conducted an emissions inventory at the facility.

The efforts have not gone unnoticed and the agencies have pulled in $5 million in federal and local grants. The two agencies say the money is being used to implement systems that have reduced the more than 2,500 tons of pollutants being expelled by diesel equipment at the port.

The public-private partners in the projects include the SCSPA, DHEC, and 23 private companies and associations.

"The Port of Charleston has become recognized as a leader in environmental stewardship throughout the Southeast," said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the SCSPA. "Continuing our partnership with DHEC strengthens the port community's pledge to cleaner air while we grow business through the port."

"This has been a precedent-setting partnership," said DHEC commissioner C. Earl Hunter. "The Ports Authority and the transportation industry have taken a proactive approach to reducing emissions and improving air quality.  DHEC looks forward to continuing this work."

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