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    Council Unanimously Approves Proposal By Councilmembers Lowenthal & Baker To Have City Mgr. Work With Harbor Dept. To Halt Idling Of Ships While At Berth in Port of LB

    We post verbatim statement by Port of LB Exec. Dir. Richard Steinke

    (December 18, 2002) -- In an action some considered unimaginable a few years ago, the LB City Council gave unanimous support to a resolution 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 Council action was agendized by Councilmembers Dan Baker and Bonnie Lowenthal, whose districts include the Port and adjacent areas, respectively.

    In a non-confrontational atmosphere, Councilmembers praised the proposal, which was also supported by Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal's office, grassroots citizen groups and community activists from LB and San Pedro.

    The agenda item produced a businesslike and professional, if noncommittal, response from the Port of LB. After noting a number issues need to be examined (details below), Port of LB Executive Director Richard Steinke told the Council, "We look forward to working with the City Manager and Southern California Edison in the future to develop what might be alternatives when it comes to ship emissions...We will look forward to working with staff to come up with what we can see as being reasonable and rational as we move through this."

    We provide a full transcript of Mr. Steinke's remarks, below.

    The Port is not run by the City Council but by a Council-approved, non-elected Board of Harbor Commissioners. The City Council annually reviews and approves the Port's budget and ultimately votes on Mayoral nominees to the Harbor Commission.

    Acting City Manager Gerry Miller indicated he'd like about 90 to 120 days to report back on the subject, which was amenable to Councilwoman Lowenthal.

    In August 2002, Councilmembers Lowenthal and Baker succeeded in winning Council approval (8-0, Kell absent to attend outside event) to support then-proposed legislation by Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal to reduce diesel emissions by limiting the allowable time trucks can idle in port terminals. The bill in its then-pending form was opposed by the Board of Harbor Commissioners, but was subsequently amended to remove the opposition and was ultimately enacted into law. posts below a transcript the Dec. 17 Council statement delivered by Port of LB Executive Director Richard Steinke. Also posted below is the text of the agendizing memorandum for the Council resolution, submitted by Councilmembers Lowenthal and Baker.

    Dec. 17/02 Statement by Port of LB Executive Director Richard Steinke

    I'd like just to make a very brief report on what has taken place concerning this issue, what the Port is currently doing with respect to vessel emissions and how we look forward to working with the City Manager and Southern California Edison in the future to develop what might be alternatives when it comes to ship emissions.

    The Ports and the regulatory agencies have studied ways of reducing hoteling emissions for several years. A 1989 study by TRC consultants suggested a number of fuel and operational measures to reduce exhaust emissions and also evaluated cold ironing, which is the practice of shutting down auxiliary power generators and plugging the ship into shore power for the duration of the stay at berth.

    About the same time, the South Coast AQMD rule 1165, which would have mandated cold ironing, but was later abandoned in the face of safety concerns expressed by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard required that any ships that carried or berthed near hazardous cargos to be able to get underway within thirty minutes, which at that time eliminated the majority of vessels from consideration for cold ironing.

    There were also some questions coming about the impracticality of retrofitting the world fleet to accommodate shore power at one or two U.S. ports at that time. Recently, and what you've been reading in the paper, was that the Port of Los Angeles announced that they were in the process of negotiating a memorandum of understanding with shipping lines and the Dept. of Water and Power concerning cold ironing. The M.O.U. constitutes a commitment to explore the feasibility and introducing cold ironing into the Port of Los Angeles.

    It does not commit any party to accomplish specific tasks, nor does it obligate any party to expend capital funds, but does obligate the parties to take a look at what the alternatives may be, subsequent to the last study in 1989.

    There are number of issues that we have looked at. The key elements for the shore side infrastructure are things like power lines running probably underground from the nearest utility substation to each berth, electrical connections to substations at each berth located landward of any crane rails. Some of the other safety concerns that may be inherent with working in or near the vessels, I'm sure that the ILWU would want to take a look at these issues from a safety standpoint.

    We figured that the cold ironing concept would require at least one substation at each berth at the Port of Long Beach. There are roughly 50 berths and a cost of about $1.5 million per berth.

    So there are other issues that we need to take a look at when we are discussing this with the City Manager's office and Southern California Edison.

    There are a number of step down systems, and I'm not an electrical engineer but apparently there are a number of things that have to be taken a look at. Various ships have various power requirements, going all the way from 440 to 11,000 volts, so not all ships are the same configuration, so there'd have to be step up or step down systems built into a system so that the vessels that come to the berth would be able to plug into that power.

    Again, there are a lot of other issues that we have to take a look at, but I'm here to tell you that we do want to work with Gerry Miller in the City Manager's office as well as Southern California Edison, I don't think that they've been approached yet, as well as the Coast Guard to see what new things can be done with respect to shore side power and some of the things that can be done.

    The Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles several years ago instituted a voluntary ship reduction program, where the speed of the vessels has been reduced. That has shown some positive impacts over the last couple of years. We'd like to have a better success rate from the shipping lines but we are continuing to work with them to reduce their speed, to reduce the vessels and that is an interim measure that we've taken and we have gotten some approval from AQMD and Cal EPA on those steps.

    So those are some of the interim measures, and we will look forward to working with staff to come up with what we can see as being reasonable and rational as we move through this.

    Agendizing memo by Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal & Dan Baker

    Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn recently signed a landmark agreement with shipping lines to eliminate idling by ships while at berth in the Port of Los Angeles.

    Diesel exhaust from ships is a major contributor to air pollution in the Los Angeles basin. Switching from the ships' diesel engines to clean electricity while at anchor will significantly reduce pollution in the region.

    To accomplish this goal, several hurdles must be overcome including getting power to the docks, working with the Coast Guard who currently requires ships to idle while at berth and many others. While these issues are not insignificant, the environmental benefits make them worth overcoming.

    We respectfully ask the Council to join us so that Long Beach can be part of this landmark environmental effort.

    Suggested action: Request City Manager to work with the Harbor Department to halt the idling of ships while at berth in the Port of Long Beach.

    The Council vote was 9-0.

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