A problem of a different sort still lies ahead for shippers and truckers. It’s TWIC, the Transportation Workers’ Identification Credential, which will be required of truck drivers starting next year. A fair assumption is that many of the independent drivers serving the ports are illegal immigrants, who wouldn’t be eligible for the new Homeland Security ID card. Port officials will have their hands full implementing their cleanup. But the most important goal, cleaner air, is about to be set.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach finally are ready to clean up diesel pollution It’s been a long time coming, but the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are about to start getting rid of thousands of high-polluting trucks that foul the region’s air. There’s more politicking ahead, but the most important rules have been drawn. L.A. gave its approval last week, and Long Beach harbor commissioners will do it today. Starting Oct. 1, the oldest and dirtiest trucks (those built before 1989) won’t be allowed on the property. Then each year the standards will be toughened until, within five years, all 16,000 trucks that serve the ports will meet clean-diesel standards. The rules would have been approved months ago, but the two ports got tangled in debates about whether to force independent owner-operators to become employees of bigger trucking firms. That needn’t happen. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Instead, the ports simply can impose fines on trucks that fail to meet pollution standards, and use the money to advance the program. It will take a lot more money, of course, to replace or retrofit all those trucks, and the owner-operators say they can’t afford it. So who will pay? Stay tuned. Few of the details have been filled in, but the challenge isn’t as onerous as it seems. For example, the ports could underwrite the financing of new trucks or engine retrofits, and operators could pay them back over a long period. This works as well for firms with employee drivers or independent operators. The ports also will look at container fees, which could provide revenue for improving bridges and other infrastructure needs. But cleaning up the diesels comes first because it is an urgent health priority. Tiny particulates from diesel emissions can lodge in the lungs and create a risk of cancer and other serious illnesses. Port activity is the biggest single source of diesel pollution in the L.A. Basin. Ships and dockside equipment also are a major target of the ports’ cleanup plans, but trucks cause about 40 percent of the problem.