Ports of LA, Long Beach at clean-air crossroads as they update pollution battle plan

Can one of Southern California’s biggest sources of pollution turn itself into a model of green energy?

That’s what the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach aim to do this week when they release their much-anticipated update to the Clean Air Action Plan.

Decision-makers from this mammoth economic hub, where countless trucks, ships and trains produce a toxic stew of pollutants, will map out specifics on reducing the diesel-dependent port’s reliance on carbon fuels.

Nobody thinks it will be easy. Industry officials and truckers raise concerns about the price tag, while environmentalists push for more speed on the path to zero emissions.

Ratcheting up the expectations, self-proclaimed “climate mayors” Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and Robert Garcia of Long Beach vowed near-zero emissions at the ports by 2035. How to get there? Investment in promising but expensive technology, including broader testing of clean big-rig trucks and cleaner-burning cargo handling equipment.

Here are the key questions as the countdown clicks away toward the cleaner-port plan’s release.

• What is CAAP, anyway?

Facing intense pressure from community and activists over pollution and exhaust spewing from trucks and ships, port officials adopted the clean-air plan in 2006.

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