(February 28, 2007) -- The chair of the LB City Council's Environmental Affairs Committee, Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga says she wasn't briefed by city management, Port management or the office of Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV) regarding news -- broken hours earlier on Feb. 27 by LBReport.com -- that Senator Lowenthal had not reintroduced his "no net increase" in LB/L.A. port pollution bill as of a Feb. 23 Senate deadline .
The legislation was previously backed by the City of Long Beach via unanimous City Council votes...and was also backed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (on whose governing board Reyes Uranga now serves).
During last night's (Feb. 27) Environmental Affairs Committee meeting at ELB's Kettering Elementary School, LBReport.com asked publicly if members of the Committee -- who include Councilman Patrick O'Donnell (chair of the Council's State Legislation Committee) and Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal (chair of the Council's Harbor/Tidelands Committee) -- had been briefed on Senator's Lowenthal's action by either city management, Port management or Senator Lowenthal's office.
Councilwoman/Chair Reyes Uranga indicated that she hadn't been briefed by city management on the development...and she intends to ask City Manager Jerry Miller about the matter immediately. Councilmembers O'Donnell and Suja Lowenthal didn't respond verbally, but didn't dissent. [Our translation: Phone calls from them to the City Manager will likely be flying too.]
The City of LB employs at taxpayer expense a Sacramento-based state legislative advocate, who reports to city management. LBReport.com learned of the development via the state legislature's internet website which lists new bills introduced lawmakers by the Feb. 23 legislative deadline. [Bills can always be changed, and in some cases "gut and amended," to insert entirely new text later in the session.]
LBReport.com's coverage of the development, first posted at roughly 4:00 p.m. Feb. 27, was updated at 5:52 p.m. with an emailed statement received at 5:34 p.m. from Senator Lowenthal via his Chief of Staff:
Senator Lowenthal Feb. 27 statement: While I believe the original goals of my "no net increase" bill were laudable at the time, I no longer believe it is sufficient; we need to go further than maintaining the status quo.
As Chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee and as the author of the bills that will implement the goods movement and emissions improvement portion of Proposition 1B, SB 9 and SB 19, I fully intend to include accountability measures in these bills that will require reductions in all types of harmful emissions.
I felt, after long deliberation, that a re-introduction of a "no net increase" bill would set conflicting standards as we try to achieve accountable, measurable reductions in pollution related to port activities.
I remain more committed than ever to holding the ports accountable in regards to reducing harmful emissions related to goods movement.
LBReport.com's coverage also included audio and a transcript of Senator Lowenthal speaking at a November 2006 CSULB "goods movement" event...during which he indicated (during Q & A) that he planned to bring his "no net increase" bill back in 2007. It also quoted the Senator's July 2006 testimony to representatives of the Ports of LB/LA, federal EPA, state Air Resources Board and SCAQMD, in which he said the Ports' "Clean Air Action Plan" is insufficient without the statutory enforcement power of a "no net increase" bill and revenue from a container fee measure. To view our coverage, click here.
As also first reported yesterday by LBReport.com, on Feb. 23 Senator Lowenthal introduced what he calls a "Port Investment Bill," which includes a "container fee" but is substantively different from the container fee measure advanced by Sen. Lowenthal in 2006 and vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. The "Port Investment Bill" is complex and detailed...and in some respects is specific to the Port of Long Beach and attainment of government-agency decided air quality goals. [Mar. 1 update] Separate coverage can be viewed by clicking here.