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    News in Depth

    Scientists @ LB Conference Present Evidence Indicating Current Levels Of Air Pollution in L.A.-LB Region are High Enough to Cause Illness and Deaths, Call for Reductions In Pollution at LA/LB Ports; Economist Says Ports Receive Subsidies That Invite More Growth

    (Feb. 28, 2005, w/ additions Mar 2-23) -- A two-day conference in LB has heard evidence that levels of air pollution currently experienced in the L.A.-LB region are associated with illnesses and deaths, while the LB-L.A.Ports simultaneously receive taxpayer subsidies that conceal their true costs and encourage further growth.

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05"I emphasize under present conditions, with the air the way it is now, we have more pre-term births and birth defects...We have an increase in asthma and other respiratory disease in children. We have an increase in abnormal lungs in children. We have heart disease in adults. And we have cancer. So that's what's happening with air the way it is," said Dr. John Peters, director of the Southern CA Environmental Health Sciences Center and Prof. of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, USC.

    Dr. Peters added, "The current air we are breathing is damaging humans of all ages...No Net Increase [in pollution] is not enough. We need to improve our air quality however we're going to do it."

    (To hear Dr. Peters' presentation, click here.).

    [Audio segments on this page are in the "real audio" format which many people already have on their computer. If necessary, the player can be downloaded free at: RealOne player download]

    For readers' convenience, we provide below a quick hyerlink index, allowing letting readers to jump to sections of interest

  • Dr. Kenneth Olden, Dir. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (incl. audio coverage)

  • Jon Haveman, Ph.D., economist with Public Policy Institute of California (incl. audio coverage)

  • Dr. John Froines, a chemical toxicologist who directs the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at UCLA and the Southern California Particle Center and Supersite (incl. audio coverage)

  • Photo of AQMD air pollution measure strip after 24 hrs. in LB (Bixby Knolls) air (jpg photo)

  • Terry Tamminen, Cabinet Secretary to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (incl. audio coverage w/ salient Q & A)

  • State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV) (incl. audio coverage w/ salient Q & A)

  • Dr. Jim Gauderman, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine: The Children's Health Study (incl. audio coverage)

  • Dr. Janice Kim, Cal EPA Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment: Proximity to Traffic Studies (incl. audio coverage)

  • Dr. Thomas Mack, Prof. of Preventive Medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine: Cancers in the Urban Environment (incl. audio coverage)

  • Dr, David Diaz-Sanchez, Assistant Prof., Dept. of Medicine, UCLA: Diesel & Allergies (incl. audio coverage)

  • Panel: What Role Should Health Concerns Play in Making Decisions About Expanding Ports, Freeways, Intermodal Facilities, and Distribution Centers? (incl. audio coverage)

  • Panel: Community, Worker & Environmental Health Concerns (incl. audio coverage)

  • Panel: Solutions to Moving Goods and Protecting Health (incl. audio coverage).

  • CSULB Center for International Trade & Transportation (CITT) (video presentation) Quality of Life & Port Operations: Challenges, Successes & the Future (incl. transcript excerpts)

  • Malcolm Carson, staff attorney, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles: How To Find Out About New Goods Movement Developments in Your Community (incl. audio coverage)
  • Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05Addressing the conference, Dr. Kenneth Olden, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS, an institute of the Nat'l Institutes of Health), cited a UC Davis colleague's statement that "Genetics loads the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger." Dr. Olden explained, "[Y]ou may inherit genetic predisposition to have a disease, but never ever have the disease unless exposed to the environmental trigger, so it's the interaction that's important."

    NIEHS, whose mission is to reduce the burden of illness from environmental causes, funds university research centers including the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center.

    (To hear Dr. Olden's presentation, click here.). [Temporarily unavailable due to server capacity constraints]

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05The Feb. 25-26 event -- "Growing Pains: Health and Community Impacts of Goods Movement and the Ports" -- was organized by Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center, a partnership of USC and UCLA scientists funded by the National Institute of Health Sciences, based at USC's Keck School of Medicine.

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05The conference drew nearly 400 people each day to the meeting hall of the First Congregational Church in downtown LB (3d St. @ Cedar Ave.).

    Jon Haveman, Ph.D., an economist with expertise in trade and port issues at the Public Policy Institute of California, told the conference that the Ports effectively benefit from taxpayer subsidies while simultaneously imposing significant costs. Haveman indicated that because subsidized Port operations don't fully reflect costs, related "goods movement" projects typically encourage the growth of more "goods movement" projects.

    Haveman: ...Port activity generates profits. The Ports make a profit. The carriers make a profit. The shippers make a profits. Lots of profits, and profit's a good thing. Also responsible for a fair amount of tax revenue at the state, local and federal level, so these are all positive things that Ports do.

    However Ports also generate significant problems. They are in noise pollution, traffic congestion, safety issues and land use issues...

    ...Absolutely, there are hundreds of thousands of jobs in the neighborhood, maybe 300,000 jobs in Los Angeles that are affiliated with the Ports. And what that number means, if the Ports were to suddenly disappear, those folks would be unemployed. But it doesn't mean that if the Ports never existed, there would be 300,000 fewer jobs in Los Angeles, because other economic activities would come in and replace the economic activities of the Ports.

    And part of the reason that the Ports are here and generating so many jobs is because you all subsidize them. The Ports are tremendous polluters. By their own admission, they're responsible for about 25% of diesel emission in the L.A. area. These emissions are equivalent to those from about 1 million cars.

    The region is heavily impacted to the tune of about $2.5 billion in externalized health care costs a year. Now $2.5 billion is a very large number, but I would argue that a number you really should use in this calculation is much larger still, because this number doesn't take into consideration the effects on the individuals. It doesn't take into consideration the lost time off from work. It doesn't into consideration the discomfort, the unhappiness. It doesn't take into consideration early death that sometimes result.

    But I'm going stick with the $2.5 billion number because it's big enough to make the point, and the point is that this is a subsidy to goods movement of about $7,000 per job. $7,000 per job I think is enough to attract nearly any industry to the local area.

    But certainly what it's doing for goods movement is it's encouraging more goods movement activity than would otherwise be the case...

    ...The demand for the resource that is willing to pay the most for it ought to get it. That's a simple economic principle that leads to basic economic efficiency provided prices reflect the true cost.

    Air is another matter. Here the principle also holds that the use that can pay the most for it ought to get it, but the use that's getting it is not paying for it. So here's an example where price does not reflect the cost. The goods movement industry is using it for free and that costs all of you to the tune of about $7,000 per job...

    ...Think about what happens in the event that we don't support Port growth, and we don't develop the infrastructure that's really necessary for the Ports to grow from 12 million to 36 million TEUs. I don't think that there's any disagreement that the infrastructure that's currently in place will not allow the Ports to grow from 12 million to 36 million.

    But what happens if we decide that that's OK? I'll put forward five different things that I think will happen.

    One is that some of the cargo vessels that are currently calling on the Ports will divert to other Ports, will divert to the Port of Oakland and other points along the western seaboard...

    And second, what happens if you don't build the infrastructure, better use will be made of existing resources...The Alameda Corridor is looking at short haul train shuttles. And what these train shuttles will do is containers will come off the ships, they'll go right on the bed of a train and get hauled out of the Port. This reduces congestion in the Port. It reduces the amount of time that trucks have to idle in the Port...and it's also likely to reduce congestion significantly.

    Third, other ports will invest in capacity, and as other ports invest in capacity, we'll see that diversion becomes even easier away from the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach...

    Fourth, prices of goods movement services will rise, and there's already a lot of this going on...

    Finally, less trade will flow. This sounds like a bad thing but I'm going to suggest that it's not entirely. Goods movement is heavily subsidized by you all, by the building of highways and bridges. If we build a $5 billion expansion of the 710, that's a subsidy to the goods movement industry to the extent that the Ports, the shippers and the carriers don't contribute to its construction.

    So we've got direct subsidies in infrastructure at home, and infrastructure abroad, the Chinese are building ports like it's nobody's business. They're also subsidizing their carriers, which means that moving stuff from China to the United States is much cheaper than it otherwise would be...

    Now I'll make the argument that trade is only economically efficient if prices reflect the costs, and with these subsidies, the prices of moving goods from Asia to the United States do not reflect the true costs, the prices are much lower. If the prices were higher, there would be less trade.

    I'm an international trade economist, well indoctrinated in the school of 'trade is good.' But trade is not that good. It's not good enough so that we should be paying people to engage in it.

    And just to sum up, where I stand now is basically the following. I don't think that the business as usual approach to trade growth is economically efficient, and it's not going to be able to survive the test of expansion from 12 to 13 million containers.

    Economic efficiency with this industry results from taxing it rather than subsidizing it. Why is that? Well, because of the pollution. Common, common principle of public finance economics, that the polluter ought to be taxed to reduce the level of their activities so that the benefits of that activity more equal the costs. We're currently subsidizing the Ports.

    And in particular, the local communities, as you all know, subsidize international goods movement through impaired quality of life, whether this means the health effects or the economic effects.

    And finally, I do want to point out that the Ports have been historically very important to the development of Los Angeles. The Ports are an important economic driver in the area.

    But there are just a great many issues that need to be resolved before it's possible to jump on the bandwagon and say growing from 12 to 36 million TEUs is a really good idea.

    To hear economist Haveman's presentation in its entirety, click here.

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05Dr. John Froines, a chemical toxicologist who directs the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at UCLA and the Southern California Particle Center and Supersite, said studies have shown that ultrafine particles (even smaller than microscopic PM10 and PM2.5) exist at high concentrations along the 710 freeway area near LB.

    ...We found about 600 particles per cc [a cc is about the size of a sugar cube] in coastal air...In San Pedro we found 42,000 particles per cc. On the 110 freeway, 135,000. But near Long Beach on the 710, we found 300-600,000 particles in a sugar cube. We found up to 1.5 million particles per cc at the highest level...

    Dr. Froines said ultrafine particles pose a serious health risk that is only now being appreciated:

    ...When you breathe ultrafine particles, when you look at the...olfactory region of the nose that we have translocation of ultrafine particles from the nasal-pharyngial passages, and the tracheal-bronchial regions of the lung, along sensory neurons to the central nervous system. In other words, ultrafine particles are not only taken up by cells, but they translocate into the central nervous system, that is they translocate into the brain...

    ...[W]e've done human clinical studies where we've seen changes in heart rate variability and blood pressure, where we've also seen...lung function disturbances; our animal models have seen neurologic inflammation; we have seen heart rate and blood pressure changes; we have seen arrhythmia; and of course we have seen quite strong evidence for airway allergic responses.

    In other words, we didn't know about these kinds of end points five years ago, but now it's clear that when you conduct freeway studies, when you conduct studies in close proximity to freeways, that we are seeing a wide range of endpoints associated with particle exposure...

    ...[M]y point is that we are end points that we weren't aware of five years ago. We are seeing these effects at current exposure levels, and we need to be concerned about the adequacy of the regulatory approach that doesn't take into account the products of fossil fuel combustion....We're finding a wide range of end points and we're finding them under conditions that currently exist without any doubt whatsoever.

    To hear Dr. Froines' presentation, click here.

    Barry Wallerstein, D. Env., Executive Officer of the South Coast Air Quality Management District displayed an air pollution measurement strip that, when new, resembled white cheesecloth. He then displayed a strip that had been outside, exposed to LB's air at the AQMD monitor in Bixby Knolls for 24 hours. It was black.

    We asked AQMD to provide us with a photo of this...and they did. An AQMD spokesperson said they took care to provide a digital photo that accurately shows it. Its border area (left and top) reflects areas shielded from the LB air. The sample was taken on Dec. 17, 2003.

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05

    The presentations included:

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05 Dr. Jim Gauderman, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine, described a newly authored paper on the effects of air pollution on children's lung function. To hear his presentation, click here.

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05Dr. Janice Kim, a pediatrician with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of the CalEPA, described studies on the effects of living close to busy roads and freeways. To hear her presentation, click here.

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05Dr. Thomas Mack, Prof. of Preventive Medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine, who recently published Cancers in the Urban Environment -- Patterns of Malignant Disease in Los Angeles County, discussed new findings -- still being analyzed -- related to the still-unexplained larger than expected number of oropharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancers along the 710 freeway in LB.

    He also presented an ongoing analysis of these cancers suggesting that rates are more consistently high among those living within one kilometer of the Ports, than among those living near freeways. This preliminary finding is still being analyzed. To hear his presentation, click here.

    [Due to a digital malfunction, a small portion of Dr. Mack's presentation was lost; we inserted a "whoosh" sound to indicate our edit.]

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05Dr, David Diaz-Sanchez, Assistant Prof. in the Dept. of Medicine at UCLA, has conducted research focusing on the role of the environment in affecting immune responses. He's interested in the role of combustion products (such as diesel exhaust in exacerbating or initiating allergies. [Audio coverage of this presentation is being transferred to new extended capacity server.]

    A panel of community members described the impacts in poignant, personal terms.

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05

    To hear some salient comments, click here.
    (Excerpted: Jesse Marquez, Coalition for a Safe Environment, Wilmington; Evangelina Ramirez, LB Alliance for Children with Asthma; Penny Newman, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Riverside. Edits are indicated by a "whoosh" sound.).

    A panel discussion on "What Role Should Health Concerns Play in Making Decisions About Expanding Ports, Freeways, Intermodal Facilities, and Distribution Centers?" was moderated by Goetz Wolf, Prof. of Urban Planning & Policy at UCLA. The panelists included:

    To hear this panel discussion (incl. salient Q & A), click here

    State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV), who authored AB 2042 in 2004 (established 2004 baselines for LB-L.A. Port-related air pollutants, prescribed no net increase, vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger) discussed his 2005 legislative package (including reintroduction of the vetoed measure) and fielded Q & A. To hear State Senator Lowenthal's presentation (incl. salient Q & A) click here.

    A panel on "Solutions to Moving Goods and Protecting Health" included Todd Campbell (Coalition for Clean Air), Noel Park (San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners Ass'n); Kirk Markwald, a railroad industry consultant; T.L. Garrett (VP Pacific Merchant Shipping Ass'n) Dale Shimp (Cal Air Resources Board). To hear these panelists click here. [Temporarily unavailable; segment plus salient Q & A being transferred to a higher capacity server.]

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05The proceedings were simultaneously translated into Spanish using wireless headsets.

    At one point, we saw roughly two dozen headsets in use.

    CSULB's "Center for International Trade & Transportation" (CITT) furnished a produced videotape which was played for attendees. Some excerpts:

    Announcer: ...In California, robust international trade continues to power the engine of the state's economy. Southern California's ports handle steady growth in goods movement. World trade generates about 320,000 jobs for California. In the southland, trade affects one of every seven jobs. Cargo is the lifeblood of the region. The Ports form the heart, which pumps the supply of goods through the arteries of freeways, highways and rail lines...

    ...Congestion and air pollution pose the greatest problems. Community and environmental groups claim the ports and trucks hauling containers exacerbate the already difficult living conditions in and around coastal cities and throughout the southland. Taken to their logical conclusion, these claims might lead to restrictions on trade growth...

    Ultimately, the region is confronted with a difficult choice: restrict growth at the ports or accept growth and deal with the problems it creates. The choice to restrict growth could likely lead to negative economic consequences. Consumer prices will rise if shortages of vital goods occur and delivery costs increase. In the short term, jobs may be lost from the California transportation and supply chain. Some business leaders suggest a downward spiral could occur, with businesses relocating outside of the area to avoid restrictions and higher costs. Trucking companies, warehouses and ports located outside the region would be positioned to pick up any diverted cargo. As a result, these outside interests would stand to benefit financially...

    The other choice, to accept growth will definitely benefit the local economy. It will keep consumers supplied with the goods they demand at competitive prices. Concerns about congestion and pollution are legitimate and must be addressed. With planning and foresight, investment and the introduction of new technologies, the environmental impact of greater port traffic and goods movement can be mitigated...

    CITT Executive Director Marianne Venieris introduced the tape in person and concluded its presentation by saying that CSULB's Center for International Trade & Transportation "as an educational entity is uniquely positioned to address trade-related issues in a neutral setting." She added that the group had issued a "White Paper" which shows that "well-meaning people disagree on how to best move forward. You have some people in the industry that see never-ending growth, and then you have some people on the community side who want to turn the clock backwards. Many people, however, do recognize that a solution must be found where jobs and quality of life are not in conflict," Ms, Venieris said.

    [Portions of the second day of the conference are being retrieved and posted now. Revisit this page, click reload or refresh on your browser to ensure updated text.]

    Malcolm Carson, staff attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, spoke on "How to Find Out About New Goods Movement Developments in Your Community, and How to Become Involved in the Process. [We are transferring this audio excerpt to a new higher capacity server.] .

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05Prof. Andrea Hricko, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at USC's Keck School of Medicine and director of the Community Outreach and Education Program at the Southern CA Environmental Health Sciences Center, was a primary organizer of the event.

    Prof. Hricko introduced Terry Tamminen, formerly CalEPA Secretary and now Cabinet Secretary to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger...noting that when she invited Mr. Tamminen, he was still CalEPA chief...and she was glad he came to the conference notwithstanding his promotion.

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05Mr. Tamminen, the founder of Santa Monica Baykeeper and a former director of Environment Now, said the conference's subject matter is important to him.

    Following his address (which we post in full in audio form below), Mr. Tamminen fielded questions...and the issue of Gov. Schwarzenegger's 2004 veto of AB 2042 (Lowenthal) came up. (We likewise post the Q & A audio below.)

    AB 2042 established baselines for Port air pollution, limited pollution to those levels and allowed Ports and industry to fashion remedial measures of their choice. The bill was supported by the City of LB (City Council) and the South Coast Air Quality Management District but opposed by the CA Chamber of Commerce (which called it a "job killer") and the Port of LB.

    Audio coverage of CA Governor's Cabinet Sec'y Terri Tamminen Address with salient Q & A:

  • Tamminen address
  • Tamminen Q & A re AB 2042.
  • also provides salient transcript excerpts below..

    Mr. Tamminen: ...Let's take the benchmarking that you are doing here in this conference this weekend, let's take the scientific information, let's take the economic information and the growth models, and the land use models, let's take a look at the path we're on...let's take that and project that out and say if we do nothing, here's where we're going, but then let's project out where we need to be if we want to be sustainable...and whatever that delta is, whether it's in air quality, or water quality, or land use, whatever it might be, then let's figure out the strategies that are going to get us from here to here.

    And I think we've got to do that to have a plan. I mean if you were going to build a house, you wouldn't get together and have a conference and say, 'well you know what, I can design the walls' and somebody else can say 'well you know what, I can bring a toilet' and somebody else will say 'well I can build some roof shingles,' and then hope that at the end of the day you had a house.

    You would get an architect to draw a plan, and then you would get the materials together and then you would agree on a timeline for building it. Now there might be disagreement about the timeline. There might be disagreement about who pays for the house. But at least you'd all start from the same architecture and from the same plan.

    So my challenge to you is to help us in the state -- and I'm not putting this burden back on you, I think this is where we come in, this is where we are our brother's keeper -- it's our job to bring people together, and regulators, and business, and environmental and community groups and all the stakeholders, to bring them together beyond forums like this, which is a great place to start, but into working groups that develop that architecture so we have a plan, so we can stop saying 'well I think we can balance those interests' into saying 'we have a plan for balancing those interests' and making sure that our environmental quality and our health and our communities is indeed sustainable by a date certain. That's the only way we're ever going to truly answer this and break down the barriers and the suspicions that still exist...

    So I'm asking you today to help me coming out of this conference with the results of this conference, with the work that you've done, to come work with us in the state -- one of the highest priorities that the Governor has established is a working group in our Cabinet on Ports -- in fact Secretary Alan Lloyd [succeeded Tamminen at CalEPA], and Secretary Sunne McPeak of Business, Transportation and Housing -- hosted the first of the Working Group sessions, listening sessions that they're going to start around the state to be able to get some of this baseline data and hear from the communities -- and then start to draft that plan.

    And I think within the next six to twelve months, we ought to commit ourselves to having that architecture, that actual plan, with dates certain for getting our air quality under control, for getting our water quality under control, for having land use plans that we all agree on, and the state can't mandate that. The state has to work with local government on land use plans. It obviously has to work with local communities and the people who live here on how their land is going to be utilized and what the future of their communities is going to look like.

    But at the same time, we can't eliminate or ignore any strategy. There's no silver bullet. The Terminator can't come in here and terminate these problems. We're going to have to use every single strategy...

    Q & A re Veto of AB 2042 (Lowenthal)

    Coby Skye, Random Lengths: ....You mentioned that the Governor wants to be held accountable to his environmental plan, so I'm going to hold you to that statement.

    Mr. Tamminen: Do it!

    Q: The rhetoric of the Governor, even when he was running as a candidate was that there shouldn't be this dichotomy between the environment and business, that the two can prosper and improve both at the same time...So my question is, why was it when Alan Lowenthal put forward the "no net pollution increase" bill, and it was approved by the Legislature, why was it that the Governor vetoed that bill, and as a follow up question, Sen. Lowenthal has stated that he will be introducing the bill. If it comes to the Governor again is he planning to veto it again?

    Port pollution conference, Feb. 25-26/05Mr. Tamminen:: ...I was a fan of the bill as it was originally introduced. I thought it had metrics and teeth and potentially good outcomes. The bill that came to the Governor's desk, in my view and in the Governor's view, would not have reduced an ounce of pollution.

    All due respect to Alan and the people who worked on it, it created an artificial cap that everybody knew the Ports could not possibly achieve, so that meant that by the first benchmark year that they would have to meet, they'd be in violation, but the law provided no measure for what we should do about that. So obviously, there was no penalty, there was no, OK, if you fail to meet this goal here's what would have to happen, etc. etc.

    So it set up nothing but conflict. It didn't set forth a single strategy for reducing an ounce of pollution. So with that artificial cap, the Ports would have been scrambling, we would have ended up in court. We would have had them, the Ports, saying 'we look here's what we're doing, we think we're going to achieve these things over time.' We would have had various groups suing under this law, but it was probably unenforceable the way it was written.

    And to the degree that it did force the Port to shut down some kinds of traffic in order to achieve this cap, it probably would have simply sent more of the goods, which are going to come here anyway 'cause we keep buying 'em, we're all responsible, it would have sent them to other ports, maybe even in Mexico, and we have a lot of trucks coming up from Mexico creating air pollution and other problems.

    So our belief is that this ought to be, whatever we're going to do to reduce air pollution, ought to be through the CA Air Resources Board, which over the next twelve months is looking at, I believe, as many as nine different regulatory packages on different components of this problem, and when they introduce those regulations it will be on every single port in the state, so that we can't just have that sponge effect.

    The other thing is, when I saw let's hold the Governor accountable, hold him accountable in total. I mean, when he got into office we weren't in office 24 hours and there was an effort in Congress to attack California's right to regulate small, two stroke, highly polluting engines. He got on the phone with all the things he had to do the first 24 hours he was in office, and for four days he was on the phone lobbying members of Congress to defend California's right to regulate that highest polluting category of engines, and he ultimately defeated the so-called Bond amendment, he's widely credited is because he called the Republican Senators who were trying to push that thing through and he got it defeated, and to this day he considers that one of his biggest achievements, because without those regulations that's another 25 tons a day of air pollution in our skies.

    He also made sure that we got $140 million of permanent funding for Carl Moyer, one of the most effective, business friendly and environmentally friendly tactics to convert dirty diesel trucks and buses to cleaner alternative fuels, the first time we've ever had permanent funding for Carl Moyer...and he's committed to double that over the course of the next couple of years because we believe that with $300-$400 million a year, that program will reach its full potential by 2010 and actually get the worst of the polluting diesel vehicles off the road in a business-friendly manner that replaces them with something that's better.

    So hold us accountable, yeah, but take the record as a whole, and let's not put fig leafs on problems. If we had proposed that bill, frankly I think we would have been howled out of office. So let's look at the difference between what's proposed and what finally ends up on a Governor's desk and the decisions that a Governor has to make.

    Q: And the follow-up? The follow-up was whether if it comes up again, are you going to work to make sure that it doesn't...

    Mr. Tamminen: Well again let's see what comes back. If that exact same bill comes back, my comment stands. I mean I can't speak for the Governor, he'd have to decide if he wants to support it or veto it, but I think it would have the same weaknesses that I just described. So, if Alan's here, I encourage him to continue to work on this problem with us but to bring us something that will actually reduce pollution and do it in a manner that's truly sustainable and see that the outcome is going to be achieved.

    During a midafternoon break, Gail Ruderman Feuer, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, offered this response to Mr. Tamminen's remarks for

    "I think [Mr. Tamminen's] speech was very encouraging. I mean we're looking to the Governor to carry through on Secretary Tamminen's comments, that they are prepared to do whatever it takes in a plan to reduce pollution from the Ports."

    And what about Lowenthal's reintroduction of the substance of AB 2042? "I think if the Governor's reasoning for vetoing 2042 is that they want a more effective bill, then we would like to work with him to come up with a bill that takes a serious crack at tackling pollution at the Ports."

    Mr. Tamminen's remarks about AB 2042 continued drawing comments the next day. Todd Campbell of the Coalition for Clean Air responded as a panelist:

    Mr. Campbell: ...I have to comment on what Cabinet Secretary Tamminen said yesterday, who's been a tremendous supporter as the Executive Director of Environment Now of our campaigns for the Dump Diesel campaign as well as Port campaigns in the past, and even I would say he's a big supporter in the present.

    I felt he made troubling remarks yesterday that I cannot let go without comment.

    First, the No Net Increase bill, or then Assembly bill 2042 by then-Assemblymember but now Senator Lowenthal, was a very significant bill not just for this community but for this reason.

    The reason why it was significant is it pushed the Air Resources Board to commit to a timetable. Before when the Air Resource Board were working on rules, they of course are limited by their resources, but it wasn't very clear as to when those rules would actually evolve.

    And I would say if anything else, the veto did not stop the momentum of that bill creating some sort of change. It hasn't happened but it's on its way, and I'm hopeful that...everyone at this convention as well as others that you talk to will support the Senator's efforts to get a No Net Increase bill, not just for Los Angeles but also for Long Beach, because it's critical for our health.

    The second point I want to say is that the Secretary said the bill was not good because it did nothing to reduce air quality [sic: meant pollution] and sets limits that could not be achieved or be enforced. And I'd have to say that statement just doesn't make sense.

    ...If you set a limit and you say it can't be reached, at least that's progress. Remember, the Clean Air Act is a net decrease bill, it's not a No Net Increase bill...And so what I thought the Senator was asking was a fairly reasonable request.

    Unfortunately it was the California Chamber of Commerce that listed it as the number one "job killer" bill and that is probably primarily why that legislation failed...

    [later in the proceedings] ...The authorities for the Ports either directly or indirectly opposed the adoption of this legislation with the [Schwarzenegger] administration...The industry railed against this bill from being adopted...The truth be known, this was a very important piece of legislation that would have improved the health of all these communities, including the region, and if the Governor is committed to a 50% reduction of emissions or pollution, the Ports are one of the best places to start...

    During a break in the first day's proceedings, we buttonholed LB Harbor Commissioner Mario Cordero...the only member of the LB (or L.A.) Harbor Commissions we saw attending.

    We noted that Dr. John Peters had said "No Net Increase [in pollution]" is not enough, yet the Port of Long Beach not committed to this. "What are you going to do about it?" we asked.

    After noting that the Port of L.A. had not committed to No Net Increase, just Mayor James Hahn (who's seeking reelection), Commissioner Cordero replied:

    Commissioner Cordero: As you know, the Port of Long Beach recently passed a Green Port policy, and I suggest that the goal of that policy is to get to a point where you would have a No Net Increase, but I will qualify by saying that is not one of our stated objectives that we're going to promise that in two or three years. It's a goal. So I think in all fairness, you just heard the Governor's representative [Mr. Tamminen] indicate that I think the parties need to get together to achieve eventually reduce emission and I think a No Net Increase which suggests that we're going to do this in a year or two I think is very unrealistic. So I do agree that eventually that goal should be a no net increase.

    LBReport: By what time?

    Commissioner Cordero: Well I think when I mentioned the statement that I made on the record previously when we were talking about the Green Port policy, that I think the true effect of what that policy is going to bring will not be known maybe into a range of five to ten years. I mean, for a variety of factors, and I'm just giving an honest answer, for me to say that no matter what plan of action you put in it's going to result in a No Net Increase in less than five years, I think it's extremely unrealistic and I certainly don't want to be pretentious to state something and not come through with it.

    At the conclusion of the two-day conference, Robert Gottlieb, Professor of Urban Environmental Studies at Occidental College and Director of the Urban Environmental Policy Institute, summed up recomendations made by conference participants in breakout workshop sessions and other conference discussions. Regarding a pending State Action Plan: "Slow it down. You've got to be able to address issues [that came up at this conference] and you are not addressing those issues right now."

    And as for Mr. Tamminen's challenge to the conference:

    "We will bring back the challenge to him, which is that this material of rich suggestions and positions and information that have been developed out of this conference, and out of these workshops, need to be part of the State Action Plan process. So we will be presenting to the Governor, and to the different agencies, that not only do we want you to slow it down but here it is. This is a step to incorporate that as part of any evaluation of where to go next."

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