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    Port of LB Enviro Planning Mgr. & Grassroots Civic Watchdog Heard on Statewide Radio Pgm. Discussing Air Pollution From Ships

    (January 17, 2004, updated) -- The Port of LB's Manager of Environmental Planning Dr. Tom Johnson, and LB civic watchdog Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, were included in the Jan. 16 edition of The California Report, a weekly statewide radio news magazine which featured a segment on air pollution from ships.

    The half-hour program, produced by KQED-FM San Francisco, aired Friday afternoon Jan. 16 and was carried by outlets across the state, some scheduling it the same day, others (like KPCC 89.3 in the LA-LB market) running it over the weekend (details below).

    California Report host Scott Shafer introduced the segment by saying, "[A] growing threat to air quality comes not from cars but from large commercial ships that travel up and down the California coast. As Diane Solomon reports, many of the vessels are foreign owned, and that's made it tough for regulators to crack down on them."

    The report by Ms. Solomon, an associate with the Center for Investigative Reporting, opened with on-scene sound over which she stated, "While giant cranes pluck off the containers, a steady stream of black filth belches from the ships' smokestacks," seguing into a sound bite from Port of Long Beach Manager of Environmental Planning, Dr. Tom Johnson:

    "Each of these vessels has an engine that may be 50,000 horsepower," said Dr. Johnson, adding "They burn a very low grade of what's called bunker oil, so they produce a lot of what's called NOx, nitrous oxides, a lot of diesel particulate matter, which has some components that have been identified as carcinogenic and other health hazards."

    Another sound bite from Dr. Johnson followed: "There's been a lot of frustration among the regulatory people down here about the extent to which the non-attainment in air quality standards down here is attributable to federal sources that EPA is not tightening up on."

    After discussing the the South Coast Air Quality Management District's voluntary program giving ship owners incentives to retrofit engines for less polluting fuel, and sound bites of the environmental group Blue Water Network (suing the EPA over failing to regulate ships under the Clean Air Act) and a shipping industry spokesman (saying the feds lack authority to regulate transiting foreign vessels' engine emissions), Ms. Solomon said:

    "Meanwhile, some of the residents living near southern California's ports are organizing to block port expansion and to raise awareness about the health risks from marine air pollution. [background sound up of school playground] Traci Wilson-Kleekamp of Concerned Partents and Teachers of Long Beach says many children here -- at elementary school close to the Port -- suffer from asthma. She and other port neighbors feel that their health is being taken for granted."

    [Sound bite of Ms. Wilson-Kleekamp] "Somehow there has to be a worldwide consensus, and if not a worldwide consensus at least a consensus that our elected leaders instill that says, 'Look, you just can't come to our city and pollute the air. You just can't come to our port and pollute and not care about the impacts of it.' In other words, taking care of our human health is going to have to become part of the way that we do business."

    LB area listeners should be able to hear the report Sunday night on KPCC 89.3. However as of Saturday, KPCC's revamped (and very nice) web site had some inconsistent info about the schedule. KPCC's weekend schedule web page indicates The California Report airs on Sunday between 9-10 p.m. with another show called Latino USA. However KPCC's broadcast schedule web page indicates it airs (also with Latino USA) on Sunday between 10-11 p.m.

    On Sunday, KPCC's home page ( lists the show as airing between 9-10 p.m.

    KQED's web site indicates the program is heard in parts of the state including the Bay Area, Sacramento, (and areas north of SF), San Diego, Santa Barbara, Fresno, Bakersfield, the San Fernando Valley (KCSN) and San Bernardino areas.

    As of Jan. 16, the segment had not been audio archived on KQED-FM's web site.

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