An innovative and successful program to reduce air pollution by slowing ship speeds has earned the Port of Long Beach a national environmental excellence award. The port's voluntary "Green Flag" air quality initiative has been recognized by the National Association of Environmental Professionals with its Environmental Management Award.
The award is given to organizations and programs that achieve "lasting contributions to improving environmental methods, improving the quality of the environment, and reducing impacts on the environment," said Jim Melton, president of the National Association of Environmental Professionals. The two-year-old Green Flag program asks ships and vessel operators to voluntarily slow down to 12 knots or less within 20 nautical miles of the harbor, which greatly reduces fuel consumption and air pollution. Companies that achieve 90 percent compliance receive rebates on dockage fees. In 2007 nearly 90 percent of the ships coming into and out of Long Beach terminals were in compliance with the Green Flag standards, the port said.
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