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    News

    Port of LB Preliminary Schedule To Start "Cold Ironing" (Ships Plug Into Dockside Electrical Power And Shut Off Shipboard Engines At Berth) With British Petroleum Ships Is Mid To Late 2006


    (August 28, 2004) -- A memo to LB's Board of Harbor Commissioners indicates that Port staff's preliminary schedule to start "cold ironing" -- in which ships plug into dockside electrical power and shut down polluting shipboard engines while at berth -- is mid to late 2006 to complete landside improvements for at least two British Petroleum (BP) vessels (retrofitted by late 2005-early 2006) that would dock at berth T121.

    The timeline is indicated in a Port of LB staff memo, recommended by PoLB Managing Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. and approved by PoLB Executive Director Richard Steinke, which asks the Board of Harbor Commissioners to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with BP in what would presumably become the PoLB's first cold ironing operation.

    The memo accompanies a publicly agendized August 30 Harbor Commission item and was provided to LBReport.com on request. Port of LB and City Hall officials have scheduled a press event with BP on the same day, presumably to announce the plan.

    The memo to the Board of Harbor Commissioners by Chief Harbor Engineer D.A. Thiessen states in pertinent part:

    British Petroleum's (BP) affiliate liquid bulk carriers delivering crude oil to POLB's Berth T-121 on a regular basis are good candidates for cold ironing. Consistent with many months of investigation and planning, it is proposed by both BP and POLB staff to implement cold ironing at Berth T121 at BP West Coast Products terminal. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) with BP is proposed to initiate this joint project...

    DESCRIPTION OF WORK

    THe work includes a joint effort by BP and POLB to institute voluntary cold ironing of vessels at Berth T121 by late 2006. The joint program will have three key components: 1) design and construction of the shore-side electrical facilities; 2) modification and retrofit of at least two candidate BP affiliate vessels' electrical systems to receive shore-side power supply and distribute it to the onboard electrical equipment; and 3) long-term operation and maintenance of all infrastructure both on shore and on the vessels...

    BP indicates the vessels would be retrofit by late 2005 early 2006. The Port's preliminary scheduled for completion of the landside improvements is mid to late 2006, allowing for design, permitting, construction, and utility company efforts...In addition, although the5re is currently no legal way for either party to generate emission credits, the Port will be waiving any claim to credits in the future should regulations or rules change...

    Earlier this year, the Port of Los Angeles began cold ironing for some ships...following a lawsuit brought and settled by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

    In June 2004, Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal (D, LB-SP-PV) praised the Port of L.A.'s implementation of cold ironing...and cited it in support of AB 2042, his bill to limit port related air pollution to a 2004 baseline level. "There are lots of ways in which we can promote and support better business practices, that's all we're saying," Assemblyman Lowenthal told the state Senate Committee on Environmental Quality.

    AB 2042 passed the CA Assembly and CA Senate and has been sent to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger...who could sign it into law or veto it. The LB City Council and the AQMD support AB 2042...but LB's non-elected Board of Harbor Commissioners has opposed it, along with the LB Area Chamber of Commerce and the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

    In December 2002, the LB City Council approved a resolution brought by Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal and Dan Baker requesting that the City Manager work with the Harbor Department to halt the idling of ships while at berth in the Port of Long Beach. The action followed a November 2002 "mock funeral" held by local environmentalists to illustrate deaths statistically attributable to port or port-related operations. The event drew regional and national media attention.

    In March 2003, Port officials unveiled a "Healthy Harbor" initiative spotlighting Port environmental measures. Harbor Commissioners voted to approve an Air Quality Improvement Program that the Port said "combines existing and new efforts that surpass state and federal requirements and commit millions of dollars to reduce diesel emissions by promoting the use of alternative fuels and pollution-control devices."

    In October 2003, AQMD Board chair and CA Air Resources Board (ARB) member Dr. William Burke offered an ARB motion calling for tougher "short term" local measures (i.e. with an implementation date and specific reduction target, 2005-2008, implement 2006-2010) which "may include...cold ironing for ships calling on the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles." The Ports of LB and L.A. opposed this item. Tom Johnson, PhD, POLB's Manager of Environmental Planning, testified in pertinent part:

    "Although cold ironing of cruise ships has been shown to be feasible, the situation with respect to cargo vessels is dramatically different and significantly more complex. The China Shipping settlement in the Port of Los Angeles will be held up as an example of the feasibility of cold ironing of cargo vessels, but in fact that was a political decision that didn't have a technical basis and no ships are cold ironing at the Port of Los Angeles nor is there a schedule for them to do so.

    The fact is, the Port of Long Beach supports your staff's approach that keeps cold ironing as a long term measure and we strongly believe that adopting it as a short term measure would set the stage for non-attainment, and embroil the Board, the District and the interested parties in lengthy and non-productive lawsuits [from parties seeking to compel the promised attainment] and consultations."

    In August 2002, AQMD Executive Officer Barry Wallerstein called the ports of Long Beach/Los Angeles "by far the largest source of air pollution in our region." In an AQMD press release, Mr. Wallerstein said cleaning up the ports "is one of the most difficult and complex environmental challenges in the nation. It is also one of the most important tasks facing us as we move toward restoring healthful air quality for all Southern Californians."

    The AQMD release called port related impacts the "Number 1 Source of Southland Smog" and said, "All marine vessels in the ports emit more than 47 tons per day of smog-forming nitrogen oxides. That is more than one-fifth the amount emitted by all of the region's cars. It is also nearly equal to the total nitrogen oxide emissions from the top 300-emitting industrial facilities in the region, including all power plants and refineries." It added, "As ship traffic increases during the next 20 years, nitrogen oxide emissions from the ports are expected to increase by about 70 percent."


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