Further Reaction To Gov. Schwarzegger's Veto Of SB 927 (Container Fee At Ports of LB/LA For Clean Air Programs, Rail Cargo Projects, Port Security)
Mayor Foster: "Governor's Veto Solves Nothing"
Coalition For Clean Air: "Governor Schwarzenegger Let California Down"
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(Sept. 22, 2006) -- Further reaction is coming in following Governor's Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto today (Sept. 22) of SB 927 by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-PV-SP), which would have levied a $30 fee on cargo containers discharged at the Ports of LB/L.A. to fund air quality programs, rail cargo projects and port security. [LBReport.com coverage, including veto message and reaction from Sen. Lowenthal, click here].
[LBReport.com will update this page until sundown Friday, at which time the publisher's family will observe a religious holiday until sundown Sunday.]
LB Mayor Bob Foster: [extemporaneous comments on cell phone while in motion]: "Nothing's changed as a result of the Governor's veto. Long Beach residents still have a higher than statewide rate for asthma, are still at increased risk for heart disease, respiratory diseases and cancer as a result of pollution in and around the ports. We've got to solve this problem, we need to fix it and this veto solves nothing." What's next? "I'm going to redouble my efforts to work with anyone who wants to solve the pollution problems in and around the ports, who wants to put together the resources."
In an emailed release, the Coalition for Clean Air stated:
Governor Schwarzenegger let California down today by vetoing a critical bill that would have helped clean up the air and secure our ports. The bill, SB 927, by state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, would have saved lives and promoted a strong economic future for California by investing in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The governor’s veto will directly impact the health and quality of life of communities near the ports and along California’s freeway and rail corridors because this action will certainly delay air pollution reductions and transportation infrastructure improvements. The Long Beach and Los Angeles port complex is the busiest in the nation, and the largest single source of toxic diesel pollution in the greater Los Angeles region. The California Air Resources Board estimates 2,400 Californians die prematurely each year from the air pollution caused by the shipment of goods across the state.
Many families, like Martha Cota and her children, who have asthma, must continue to suffer the effects of the pollution caused by the transportation of goods on ships, trains and trucks. "I am, of course, disappointed that the Governor did not take up this opportunity to improve the health of our community," said Cota, a Long Beach resident who has been an active supporter of SB 927. "However, we must stay united and keep fighting for protection from pollution and for our basic needs. We will continue that fight."
Felipe Aguirre, Vice Mayor, City of Maywood, called the veto a “tragedy” and said the governor’s arguments are a farce. "This bill could have brought much needed resources to the small cities that are most polluted by the goods movement industry," Aguirre said. "If the governor says his bond measure will bring in the money for the ports, we will hold him accountable to fulfill his promise."
In his veto message, Governor Schwarzenegger said his infrastructure bond measure on the November ballot demonstrates that ports pollution and port security are priorities for his administration. But this $1 billion bond measure puts all the burden on taxpayers.
"The governor is saying the bill failed to coordinate a private-public partnership. But apparently the governor’s idea of a private-public partnership, is that the public pays for private industry’s pollution," said Tim Carmichael, president/CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air.
The governor’s veto strands two critical plans that have been developed to deal with the problem of port growth and pollution:
- Emissions Reduction Plan for Ports and Goods Movement in California.(California Air Resources Board) -- SB 927 would have helped fund that plan. Vetoing SB 927 leaves it without direct or continuous funding.
- The San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan. (The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach) -- SB 927 would have helped the ports achieve the goals of this plan. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is headed to Asia in two weeks to promote trade through our ports and his green agenda for the ports. The Governor’s veto sends a contrary message to Asia about our commitment to this green agenda.
This is the second time Governor Schwarzenegger has vetoed priority port legislation.
In 2004, he vetoed State Sen. Alan Lowenthal’s bill to clean up the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. That bill (AB 2042, the "no net increase" bill) would have set a cap on pollution at the two ports. But Governor Schwarzenegger failed to set targets for pollution reduction at the state’s two largest ports. With today’s veto, he is failing to fund efforts to clean up and secure these ports in any reliable and ongoing manner.
SB 927 (which originated in the Legislature as SB 760) proposed collecting $30 from each 20-foot container that entered the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports and dividing it into thirds for:
New effective technologies to reduce port air pollution,
Rail infrastructure improvements, and,
Specific security enhancements such as container screening.
Community organizations and neighborhood associations, labor unions, health advocates, chambers of commerce, elected officials of all political stripes, cities and agencies, and environmental groups were all united behind this bill. Instead of supporting this broad coalition, and the best funding proposal to deal with port pollution, the Governor sided with the very limited opposition made up of big business: retailers and railroads.
Gov. Schwarzegger Vetoes SB 927, Sen. Lowenthal's Container Fee Bill (For Clean Air Programs, Rail Cargo Projects, Port Security); Sen. Lowenthal Says It's "Not The End Of The Fight, Only The Beginning"
LB Mayor Foster, Sen. Lowenthal, Councilwoman/AQMD Boardmember Reyes Uranga, L.A. Councilwoman Hahn & Multiple Clean Air Advocates Tell Gov, Schwarzenegger: Sign SB 927 (Container Fee For Clean Air, Rail Projects, Port Security)
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