Biden-Harris administration ports and waterways plan ignores pollution, renewable energy sources for ocean shipping

Date: November 10, 2021
San Francisco Bay cargo ship by Bernard & Myrtha Garon

WASHINGTON (November 10, 2021) – Just this morning, we welcomed Secretary Buttigieg’s role in launching the Clydebank Declaration for Clean Shipping Corridors at COP26.  As a major climate advocate, this is why we are shocked and disappointed that his agency’s port plan so deeply missed the mark.

Earlier this week, ICYMI, the Biden-Harris administration released a plan to tackle the supply chain issues present at our maritime ports. “The Biden-Harris Action Plan for America’s Ports and Waterways” lays out a plan to alleviate congestion at our nation’s ports through different avenues of funding, data sharing, and further flexibility in the functionality of ports and shipping. However, the plan mentioned neither the rampant pollution of the maritime shipping industry or renewable energy sources to modernize the industry. 

In response, Pacific Environment’s Federal Policy Manager Tyler McFadden made the following statement:

“Nowhere in the administration’s action plan for ports and waterways can you find any mentions of the pollution caused by the maritime shipping industry, nor the emerging technologies for clean energy solutions, to hasten the transition to a zero-emissions. Though we happy to see expanded flexibility for port modernization funds, the blatant omission of strong language around pollution and the clean energy transition at ports is unacceptable.

The Biden administration has made a point to consult America’s biggest importers for their advice on fixing our supply chain issues, but has done little to curb the pollution choking the millions of Americans living near our maritime ports.

U.S. ports need to urgently transition to clean energy, including investing in shore power and replacing fossil bunker fuel with green hydrogen. Pacific Environment calls on the Biden-Harris administration to amend its action plan for ports and waterways to center climate and public health and to make it an administrative priority in 2022 to finally transition the maritime shipping industry to absolute zero-emission.”  

Contact: Gwen Dobbs, Pacific Environment, [email protected], 202-329-9295

Pacific Environment is a global environmental organization that protects communities and wildlife of the Pacific Rim. We support community leaders to fight climate change, protect the oceans, build just societies, and move away from fossil fuels toward a green economy.