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    Breaking News & In Depth

    Assembly Passes -- By One Vote Margin -- AB 2042 (Lowenthal Zero Net Increase in Port Air Pollution Bill); To Gain Assembly Passage, Some Changes Agreed To As Bill Heads To CA Senate


    (May 20, 2004) -- Declaring on the Assembly floor that "In my six years in the legislature, this is the most important bill that I've ever introduced," Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV) won Assembly passage -- by a one vote margin -- of AB 2042 which would require that growth and operations at the Ports of LB and L.A. be limited or controlled in a manner that prevents port air pollution from exceeding a specified baseline...in LB's case, dating from 2002.

    "They are the largest single source of air pollution in the south coast basin. As they double in size -- which we hope that they will keep growing, and I support -- let's not double the pollution," Assemblyman Lowenthal stated in presenting his bill on the Assembly floor.

    The vote in the 80-member Assembly was 41-29, razor thin and largely along party lines, and sends the measure to the CA Senate.

    To gain the necessary Assembly votes, Assemblyman's Lowenthal Sacramento office tells LBReport.com that although the bill passed without formal amendment, the Assemblyman has agreed -- as part of the legislative process -- to make some changes as the bill progresses in the Senate. The precise verbiage isn't finalized yet but a general outline of agreed terms follow.

    The Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the State Air Resources Board shall, no later than September 1, 2005, develop a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) addressing emission control measures related to operations at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, with the requirement of meeting a baseline emission level for the year 2004. The baseline shall include emissions from oceangoing vessels and harbor craft, cargo handling equipment, locomotives, and commercial vehicles, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 15210 of the Vehicle Code. The MOA shall include a provision for the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach to meet the baseline by January 1, 2006. (or some other date to be worked out while the bill is in the Senate).

    The Port of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the State Air Resources Board shall develop the Memorandum of Agreement in consultation with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, industry stakeholders, community and homeowner groups near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and environmental organizations with the objective of identifying emission controls and reduction methodoligies that can be implemented to meet the baseline established by the MOA.

    The State Air Resources Board shall report to the Legislature in January, 2006, and in each January thereafter regarding the development and implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement

    The MOA shall include enforcement provisions by the agencies.

    The MOA shall include a process for public input and comment on any proposal prior to final agreement.

    The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles shall reimburse the California Air Resources Board for all costs associated with developing the MOA. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, by entering into the MOA shall waive any claim to be reimbursed by the state.

    In the event that a MOA is not reached and signed by all parties by September 1, 2005, then the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach shall meet emission baselines for 2004, by January 1, 2006. Each port may use prior baseline inventories to compile the 2004 baseline inventory. The baseline emission inventory must be approved by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The baselines established by the district South Coast Air Quality Management District under this subdivision shall only cover emissions from oceangoing vessels and harbor craft, cargo handling equipment, locomotives, and commercial vehicles, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 15210 of the Vehicle Code.

    In its present form, AB 2042 called for requiring the South Coast Air Quality Management District to establish a baseline for air quality in the Port of Long Beach based on the port's emission inventory for 2002, and a baseline for air quality in the Port of Los Angeles that is based on that port's emission inventory for 2001, covering emissions from oceangoing vessels and harbor craft, cargo handling equipment, locomotives, and commercial vehicles, as defined.

    The bill would authorize the baseline to include only oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter, sulfur oxide, and total hydrocarbons. It called for the City of Long Beach (for the Port of Long Beach) and the City of L.A. (for the Port of L.A.) to require growth and operations at its port to be limited or controlled in a manner that prevents air pollution at the port from exceeding the specified baseline.

    [Our transcript below is unofficial, prepared by us.]

    Assemblyman Lowenthal: In my six years in the legislature, this is the most important bill that I've ever introduced,

    Air pollution from Port operations is a significant contributor to making our children sick with asthma and increasing the cancer risk for all of us who live near the Port. According to the data recently given out by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, an invisible cloud of death hangs over the basin, and the largest single contributor are the trucks, the trains, the ships that move in and out of the Ports as well as our Port operations.

    AB 2042 is a "smart growth" measure...As we know in his campaign, the Governor promised to reduce air pollution by 50% by the year 2010. Specifically, he said breathing clean air and healthy air is a right of all Californians, especially our children, whose health suffers disproportionately when our air is polluted...

    I warn members that the four County air basin will lose billions in federal highway funds if the federal clean air standards are not met by 2010...So far the basin has failed to meet its standards for ozone and for particulate emissions...

    This is a reasonable measure. It does not stop growth at the Port. It does not increase litigation. It does not conflict with the Clean Air Act. It simply says the Ports should be good stewards and address the severe health impacts that Port operations have on the surrounding community.

    They are the largest single source of air pollution in the south coast basin. As they double in size -- which we hope that they will keep growing, and I support -- let's not double the pollution.

    So if the Ports can't regulate these emissions, and we are not trying to regulate, what we're trying to do is to say that...as we move forward with new developments, we need to make sure that we reduce emisisons, such as stepping up efforts to install cold ironing [using dockside electricity instead of ship engines while in Port], to use low sulfur diesel fuel and other measures.

    We can do this. We can actually provide leadership for the nation. We will move forward in California. I urge an aye vote.

    Assemblyman Dennis Mountjoy (R., Monrovia/Sierra Madre) urged a "no" vote, contending the bill would empower "a bureaucracy that is not answerable to the people, is not elected by anyone...The Ports have no control over land vehicles, and if the intent of this bill is that all of the smog and all of the pollution comes from the boats in the harbor and not the land vehicles, then Mr. Lowenthal, you're quite confused..."

    During the debate, Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza (D., LB-Carson) took the floor:

    Assemblywoman Oropeza: Colleagues, I don't want to belabor the issue,...but I do need to just share with you a couple of points.

    One, on the issue of this being a local government mandate. We know that we have strong advocates here in Sacramento on behalf of cities. They are not opposed to this, it is my understanding. We certainly would have heard from this if they felt that this was an unduly burdensome issue...

    The other thing I want to just mention is...the community's most directly affected by this air quality issue are in fact supportive of the measure. This is a very, very reasonable measure. It does not place penalties on non-compliance. It merely asks that we set a framework, and that we do some benchmarking on air quality, and what entities are contributing to the air quality emissions difficulties that we're facing in our port areas.

    So I think this is a very reasonable measure that takes a measured approach to air quality. I would urge the members to please support this very important measure.

    As previously reported by LBReport.com, on May 5 the LB City Council voted 8-0 (Colonna absent for entire meeting) to support AB 2042...one day after LB's non-elected (Mayor named, Council approved) Board of Harbor Commissioners voted to oppose AB 2042 as written and work with the author on amendments. The LB Harbor Commissioners' vote came after an aide from Assemblyman Lowenthal's office publicly stated that he had made amendments to address some previously stated concerns.

    Some additional mendments were prior to the May 20 Assembly vote approving it.

    The Assembly passed AB 2042 on a 41-29 vote (below):

    	VOTES - ROLL CALL
    MEASURE:	AB 2042
    AUTHOR:	Lowenthal
    TOPIC:	Ports:  Port of Los Angeles:  Port of Long Be
    DATE:	05/20/2004
    LOCATION:	ASM. FLOOR
    MOTION:	AB 2042 Lowenthal  Assembly Third Reading
    	(AYES  45. NOES  31.)  (PASS)
    
    
    	AYES
    	****
    
    Berg	Bermudez	Calderon	Canciamilla
    Chan	Chavez	Chu	Corbett
    Diaz	Dutra	Dymally	Firebaugh
    Frommer	Goldberg	Hancock	Jerome Horton
    Jackson	Kehoe	Koretz	Laird
    Leno	Levine	Lieber	Liu
    Longville	Lowenthal	Maldonado	Montanez
    Mullin	Nakano	Nation	Negrete McLeod
    Oropeza	Pavley	Reyes	Ridley-Thomas
    Salinas	Simitian	Steinberg	Vargas
    Wesson	Wiggins	Wolk	Yee
    Nunez
    
    
    	NOES
    	****
    
    Aghazarian	Bates	Benoit	Bogh
    Cogdill	Correa	Cox	Daucher
    Dutton	Garcia	Harman	Haynes
    Shirley Horton	Houston	Keene	La Malfa
    La Suer	Leslie	Maddox	Matthews
    McCarthy	Mountjoy	Nakanishi	Pacheco
    Parra	Plescia	Runner	Samuelian
    Spitzer	Strickland	Wyland
    
    
    	ABSENT, ABSTAINING, OR NOT VOTING
    	*********************************
    
    Campbell	Cohn	Maze	Richman

    The measure now heads to the CA Senate.


    Previous coverage:

  • May 5, 2004: Council Backs AB 2042 (Lowenthal Zero Net Increase in Port Air Pollution) & And Two Related Port-Pollution Bills

  • May 4, 2004: Assemblyman Lowenthal Amends Parts of AB 2042 Re Zero Net Increase in Port Air Pollution
  • LB Harbor Commission Still Votes 5-0 To Oppose Bill Based On Old Text
  • LB Councilmembers Scheduled To Take Position Tuesday Nite

  • May 1, 2004: LB Port & LB Council On Collision Course -- Again -- This Time Over Assemblyman Lowenthal's AB 2042 For Zero Net Increase In Port Air Pollution


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