Friday, April 13, 2012

How the Towing Industry Helps Improve Air Quality

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend the Allegheny Health Department - Air Toxic Committee's Public Hearing in Clairton, PA.The improving air quality is one of the well-known success stories of Allegheny County, especially for those old enough to remember when the street lights used to come on in mid-day. No matter how far we have come, there is always room of improvement, but the cost of making incremental improvements becomes harder and harder, and much more expensive, after all of the first targets are met.

One of the innovative measures under consideration by the Committee is a possible recommendation to allow companies with fixed-source emissions, such as factories, to offset any remaining pollution by investing in air quality improvements for mobile sources, such as towboats.

I had the opportunity to explain how waterway transportation is the most energy efficient and least polluting mode of surface transportation and how a single gallon of diesel can move a ton of cargo 616 ton-miles on the river. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, that is nearly 30% more efficient than even the much heralded railroad industry and over 300% more efficient than trucks. The reduction in emissions is equally impressive.

I also suggested that it would deliver a very big environmental bang for the buck if shippers could earn credits by converting their supply chain from truck to barge and even more if they were to invest in upgrading the barge towing equipment from older engines into the very highly efficient modern ones.

The Port of Pittsburgh Commission is already actively working with industry to upgrade vessels. Four engines have already been upgraded and the PPC is working with PennDOT and the Southwestern Plan Commission and hopes to announce new funding soon.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a good news, I never really that towing services actually help eliminate green house emission in the air. This is really a good news now. Towing Round Rock