(April 13, 2007) -- LB's Westside Industrial Redevelopment Project Area Committee -- comprised of property owners/businesses adjacent to the Port of LB within the 1st Council district -- has voted to ask the City Council to support legislation enacting a "no net increase" in port-related air pollution mechanism, endorsed by the City Council in 2005 and 2006 that was supported until 2007 by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV).
The group's resolution supports the formula in SB 764, advanced by Sen. Lowenthal in the 2005-06 legislative session and backed by the City of Long Beach (unanimous Council votes), the South Coast Air Quality Management District and multiple clean air and health groups).
The resolution says that the Westside Industrial Project Area Committee requests that the Council adopt a resolution to support state legislation enacting the "no net increase" mechanism that was part of Senator Alan Lowenthal's SB 764 bill, introduced in the 2005-2006 session regarding port related air pollution.
Committee Vice Chair Jane Kelleher said the group's resolution, approved in principle on April 11 with finalized language approved by April 13 email responses, will be forwarded to all LB Councilmembers.
West PAC chairman Tony Rivera told LBReport.com: "We need to go in the right direction. We want the City Council to know that we want this in place. If necessary, we'll tell Sacramento too."
Asked by LBReport.com in late February why he hadn't reintroduced his "no net increase" legislation, Senator Lowenthal said in an emailed statement:
While I believe the original goals of my "no net increase" bill were laudable at the time, I no longer believe it is sufficient; we need to go further than maintaining the status quo.
As Chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee and as the author of the bills that will implement the goods movement and emissions improvement portion of Proposition 1B, SB 9 and SB 19, I fully intend to include accountability measures in these bills that will require reductions in all types of harmful emissions.
I felt, after long deliberation, that a re-introduction of a "no net increase" bill would set conflicting standards as we try to achieve accountable, measurable reductions in pollution related to port activities.
I remain more committed than ever to holding the ports accountable in regards to reducing harmful emissions related to goods movement.
In 2006, SB 764 cleared the State Senate...but was blocked in the Assembly Appropriations Committee by Assembly Democrat leaders. The bill was opposed by industry interests. The Port of LB said it was neutral on the measure.
In July 2006, State Senator Lowenthal appeared before a panel of officials from the Ports of LB/L.A., federal EPA, CA Air Resources Board and South Coast AQMD and testified that he believed the Ports' "Clean Air Action Plan" required his "no net increase" bill (SB 764) to enforce real pollution limits. In November 2006, after some members of his own party blocked SB 764, Sen. Lowenthal indicated (in Q & A during a CSULB conference) that he would reintroduce the "no net increase" measure in 2007.
When Sen. Lowenthal didn't do so, LBReport.com reported this along with news that the Senator had introduced what his office calls the "Port Investment" bill (SB 974). That bill would use revenue from a container fee to fund port-desired projects to increase goods movement efficiency and capacity and also pay for certain mitigation measures...but with no guarantee the net result of the increased capacity won't be increased pollution...something a "no net increase" mechanism would deter.
West PAC Vice chair Kelleher said she learned about Sen. Lowenthal's reversal on the "no net increase" legislation through coverage on LBReport.com and brought the issue to the group.
Historically, the Westside Project Area Committee has taken a no-nonsense view of City Hall actions. In 1975, it successfully sued City Hall regarding an illegal transfer of funds...and about a decade later sued again (an action ruled time-barred that still managed to block a bond sale that the group opposed.