Making an Impact | The Green Gateway | Kudos | A Strong Commitment to the Future
Making an Impact
time our nation observed the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, the Port of
Seattle was already looking at its properties and operations with an
environmental lens. In 1971, for
example, Seattle became the first West Coast port to create a staff position focused
entirely on ecological considerations.
person was to manage habitat around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, not
to support wildlife, but to discourage it, to reduce bird hazards to aircraft.
1972, Sea-Tac Airport became the first big airport hub to study ways to improve
the relationships between the airport and its surrounding community related to
noise, air and water pollution. By 1974
the Port had gained national recognition, via the American Association of Port
Authorities, for excellence in environmental projects such as dust control at
the grain elevator; a pump-out system for commercial fishing and recreational
boats; and a waste-paper recycling program.
1977, the Port had completed studies of the Southeast Harbor area to explore
development alternatives, and built a viewpoint and access road at Smith Cove
Park; created a buffer strip of trees and vegetation at the Terminal 91
uplands; added landscaping to Elliott Bay Park; initiated environmental studies
and supported a University of Washington archaeological study at Terminal 107
along the Duwamish River.
and other projects set the foundation for a parks program that now manages more
than 20 sites; a maintenance and landscape team that uses 100% organic
The Green Gateway
Port’s environmental focus has intensified and its programs have grown dramatically
since that first Earth Day.
In 2009, the Port labeled itself “The
Green Gateway” for trade and travel. That name evolved from research that
showed that Puget Sound ports offer the lowest carbon footprint for cargo
shipped by sea from Asia to U.S. markets in the Midwest and East Coast. The Green Gateway encompasses all of the Port environmental programs from award-winning
recycling at Sea-Tac to a clean truck
program that is helping to replace the older, polluting trucks that call on the
Seaport’s cargo terminals.
The Port is a leader in identifying
environmental impacts and tackling them. The Port established and then worked
with the Puget Sound Maritime Air Forum to complete a Maritime Air Emissions
Inventory, Released in 2007, the inventory is the most extensive study of its
type ever done in the U.S. and the very first to include greenhouse gas
emissions. Likewise, Sea-Tac Airport released its ground-breaking Greenhouse Gas
Emissions Inventory in 2008. It was the first broad-based study of its kind and
provides blueprint for airport environmental strategies going forward.
Today sustainability is a
key element in every Port operation and project. This commitment has been recognized by numerous
outside organizations. Sea-Tac Airport was the Airports Council International –
North America’s 2010 Environmental Achievement Award Winner They touted Sea-Tac’s
“Environmental Strategy Program – A Vision for 2010 and Beyond” as “the
linchpin for the success of its environmental program and can serve as a role
model for other airports.” Last year, Sea-Tac was also named the
for Recycling” for the fourth year running by King County’s Solid Waste
Management Division. The Port’s use of
biodiesel, CNG and hybrid vehicles earned a national Green Fleet award. The EPA
has also recognized the Port’s air quality programs. In 2008, the Port received
the agency’s Clean Air Excellence Award.
A Strong Commitment to the
The Port is hardly resting on its laurels. Its 2011 budget reflects its
ongoing commitment to environment stewardship.
Over $9 million will be invested in the Green Port Initiative, a
comprehensive program implementing storm water treatment, energy conservation
and emission reduction programs across Port facilities. Another $8 million is targeted
for congestion relief and a program to provide pre-conditioned air to planes
parked at Sea-Tac gates that is expected to reduce emissions by 50,000 metric
tons every year – the equivalent of taking 8,700 cars off the road.
The future is looking green indeed.
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