Columbia River Clean Diesel Project

The Portland/Vancouver region is one of five international gateways on the U.S. West Coast.   The region is well served by major trade facilities in marine, rail, and truck cargo.  Each of these modes uses equipment powered primarily by diesel engines.  The freight moving sector, responding to local, regional, and national air quality concerns, has initiated actions to reduce diesel emissions.  However, freight transport through the Portland-Vancouver area is expected to increase over time driven by projected population growth as well as geographic considerations that make the Portland-Vancouver region a strategic location for distribution.

Regional air quality impacts from diesel emissions may affect human health, environmental, regional economic, and visibility conditions in the nearby Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.  Under the National Scenic Area Act, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is an area where air quality must be protected and enhanced.  Recent studies have shown there are many different sources from all over the region that are causing haze problems in the Gorge, including emissions from PGE Boardman, motor vehicles including on-road and off-road diesel engines, natural sources (forest fires), and woodstoves. Given these trends and findings, it was determined that there is a strong need for developing a sustainable approach to meeting this projected growth.

This project was co-designated by the Governors of Washington and Oregon to enhance economic sustainability through management of diesel emissions of freight transport in the Columbia River area.  The effort focused on the freight transportation industry that uses Portland-Vancouver as a hub and transports goods through the Columbia River and Interstate 5 corridors.

Objectives

  • To reduce diesel emissions associated with marine, rail, and truck freight through the Portland-Vancouver region in a manner that protects human health, slows climate change and improves long-term profitability.