News in Depth
Ports of LB and L.A. Unveil Draft "San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan"
The 230-page Clean Air Action Plan Technical Report has been subdivided into smaller PDF files for easier downloading:
To view a PDF file (12.0 MB) of the draft of the Clean Air Action Plan Introduction, click here.
To view a PDF file of the Clean Air Action Plan Goals click here.
To view a PDF file of the Clean Air Action Plan Strategies click here.
To view a PDF of the Clean Air Action Plan Initiatives Overview click here
To view a PDF of the Clean Air Action Plan Initiatives Details click here.
To view a PDF of the Clean Air Action Plan Emissions Reductions click here
To view a PDF of the Clean Air Action Plan Budget Summary click here
To view a PDF of the Clean Air Action Plan Appendix A click here
To view the full Clean Air Action Plan press release, click here.
To view the Clean Air Action Plan Fact Sheet, click here.
For more information about the upcoming Public Outreach workshops, click here.
(June 29, 2006, initial post with further photos coming) -- Flanked by LB and L.A. city officials and regional, state and federal regulatory authorities, the Ports of LB and L.A. held a June 28 joint news event to unveil a self-declared draft document previously unheard of -- a "San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan" (CAAP) -- which a PoLB-PoLA release described as "a sweeping plan aimed at significantly reducing the health risks posed by air pollution from port-related ships, trains, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft."
The draft Plan, created by the Ports' staffs "with the cooperation and participation of staff of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, CA Air Resources Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency" will be given 30 days of public comment (details below) before the cities' two non-elected Harbor Commissions act on the document.
Port of L.A. Executive Director Dr. Geraldine Knatz said that meeting the Action Plan's emission reduction standards requires advancing Port development projects "because they yield increased efficiency and because growth through approved-project EIRs provides one of the primary methods to implement these far-reaching standards, and our project standards will allow us to grow only if we can show concurrent reductions in port-related health risks." She added, "I've seen the data myself and it can be done." [Further remarks below]
The president of L.A.'s Harbor Commission, appointed by [and speaking for] L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, "Let me just tell everybody this so that there'll be no misunderstanding. This is the last time we're going to talk about it. We're moving into action. We want your comments. We're going to listen to all the comments from everyone. But these Commissions are going to adopt the Plan in September and it's going to be implemented. So the days of yacking are coming to a screeching halt." [Further remarks below]
LB Harbor Commission president Jim Hankla said:
"We look at the health reports that come out from 'SC [USC], from various researchers around and we shudder. And we shudder because we're burdened with the responsibility of cleaning this up, while we're also burdened with the responsibility of maintaining the economic engine that is these two Ports. Make no mistake: these two Ports are the economy of southern California. Take these two Ports out of southern California and you have no economy. And we take that very seriously. We get it." [Further remarks below]
Other speakers speaking favorably of the report included SCAQMD Board chairman William Burke, officials from CA's Air Resources Board [which entered into a controversial MOU with CA's RRs, opposed by SCAQMD] and the regional U.S. EPA office [which previously gave the Port of LB an award for its Green Port policy].
In a written release, the Ports of LB and L.A. described their Action Plan as follows:
The Plan proposes hundreds of millions of dollars in investments by the ports, the local air district, the state, and port-related industry to cut particulate matter (PM) pollution from all port-related sources by more than 50 percent within the next five years. Measures to be implemented under the plan also will reduce smog forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 45 percent, and will also result in reductions of other harmful air emissions such as sulfur oxides (SOx). NOx is a precursor of smog and PM has been shown to lead to health problems.
Under the Plan, the ports propose to eliminate "dirty" diesel trucks from San Pedro Bay cargo terminals within five years by joining with the state and local agencies to finance and pursue funding channels to help finance a new generation of clean or retrofitted vehicles. The ports, along with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, propose to allocate more than $200 million toward this specific effort.
The Plan also calls for all major container cargo and cruise ship terminals at the ports to be equipped with shore-side electricity within five to ten years so that vessels at berth can shut down their diesel-powered auxiliary engines. Ships would also be required to reduce their speeds when entering or leaving the harbor region, use low-sulfur fuels and employ other emissions reduction measures and technologies.
Within five years, all cargo-handling equipment also would be replaced or retrofitted to meet the toughest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards for new equipment. Without the Clean Air Action Plan, much of the cargo-handling equipment not affected by the California Air Resource Board’s recently adopted cargo-handling equipment regulation would be allowed to operate at current emission levels until it wears out.
Under the Clean Air Action Plan, diesel PM from all port-related sources would be reduced by a total of 1,200 tons a year and NOx would be reduced by 12,000 tons a year.
Following a 30-day period for public review, then subsequent staff revisions to the Plan (as appropriate), the Boards of Harbor Commissioners at both ports will vote on whether to adopt the Clean Air Action Plan and its proposed lease requirements, tariff changes and incentives.
The Ports' Clean Air Action Plan was promptly posted on Port of LB website www.polb.com:
- To view a PDF file (125 KB) of the 36-page plan overview, click here.
The document will also be at local libraries and the Ports' headquarters.
Multiple media outlets attended the event held at the Port of L.A.'s fire station. (Spotted next to the press riser, PoLB's Community Affairs/Gov't Relations Director Carl Kemp).
Among those in the audience (left to right), Jesse Marquez (Coalition for a Safe Environment), 2nd district Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal, LB Harbor Commissioners Mike Walter and Mario Cordero.
The Ports' announcement of their Action Plan coincides with the run-up to the November election that includes a statewide infrastructure bond If approved by voters, the measure could provide money to expand the Ports' goods-movement capacity as well as allocating a smaller but significant statewide sum for environmental matters.
The Ports' Plan includes metrics, refers to pollution baselines (now being developed by the Ports) and compares its predicted results to those of a "No Net Increase" [in air pollution] task force (under former L.A. Mayor James Hahn) and a "Goods Movement Plan" [released by the CA Air Resources Board]
In its Overview, the Ports' draft Plan states in part:
The Clean Air Action Plan will result in significant emission reductions over the course of its five-year timeframe. By the end of the five-year period covered by this initial plan, emissions of diesel particulate matter from heavy-duty trucks will be reduced by approximately 80%, form ocean-going vessels by approximately 35%, and from cargo handling equipment by approximately 19%. From all port related sources, particulate matter emissions will be reduced by more than 50%. These reductions are over and above the effects of recently enacted state regulations affecting ocean-going vessels and cargo handling equipment." [CAAP Overview, p. 33]
The Plan notes that its anticipated reductions are not as great as those of the "No Net Increase" task force, saying it's "in part due to differing implementation schedules and assumptions."
As an example, a large part of DPM [particulate matter] reductions projected by NNI [No Net Increase] relied on rapid and extensive implementation of the low-sulfur fuels requirements for oceangoing vessels without specifying particular, enforceable methods that would be used to implement the requirements. In contrast, the Clean Air Action Plan's measures relating to low-sulfur marine fuels have been based on a detailed assessment of the timing of lease openings, because lease provisions will provide the most certainty in implementing the requirements. If faster methods of implementation (such as tariffs) are found to be feasible, then the emission reductions projected by the plan will be accelerated and more closely match the NNI line. Reductions of NOx from the Clean Air Action Plan will be similar to those projected by NNI..." [CAAP Overview, p. 34]
And the Ports' Plan makes clear: "The percentage reductions are based on what would be emitted in the absence of a plan -- that is, they are not compared with a specific period in the past but instead, are focused on the reductions achievable in the years shown." [CAAP Overview, p. 33]
That's significant because SB 764 now pending by State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV) would put 2001 pollution baselines into law and require the two Ports to meet them by 2010 or face fines. The bill is backed by the City of Long Beach at the explicit direction of the City Council but (as reported by LBReport.com) is opposed by the "CA Ass'n of Port Authorities" which says it speaks for CA's publicly owned deepwater ports including the Ports of LB and L.A.
The Port of LB says it is neutral on the bill. Asked by LBReport.com if in view of its Action Plan the Port of LB would now instruct the CA Ass'n of Port Authorities to drop its opposition to the bill, LB Harbor Commission President Hankla bristled. He noted that groups like the League of CA Cities, in which LB City Hall is a member, sometimes take positions on legislation that the City might not share.
[LBReport.com comment: We're unpersuaded by the analogy because Sen. Lowenthal's bill pertains only to the Ports of LB and L.A. and we doubt Ports in Hueneme and Stockton would want to waste their resources working to oppose a bill that doesn't affect them.]
We pressed ahead on the Port of LB's position on SB 764...in which the Port of LB is publicly neutral while the City of LB supports the bill...and Commissioner Hankla moved swiftly to turn the question around. "Where's Senator Lowenthal on SB 764? Ask him today." So...was LB Harbor Commission president Hankla giving us a news story? "Check with him, because I think he thinks we're doing it."
[We called Sen. Lowenthal's Sacramento office on June 28 and at that time a legislative staffer indicated they hadn't seen the Ports' Action Plan (which wasn't yet on the internet).]
We also asked L.A. Harbor Commission President David Freeman about the "CA Association of Port Authorities" opposition to the Lowenthal bill...and he seemed surprised. "I like the bill," he said...but noted that he was speaking personally and legislative policy matters come from L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa's office.
Industry interests, including the CA Chamber of Commerce, have continued to oppose SB 764, preferring "voluntary" efforts. Senator Lowenthal, who reintroduced the bill in 2005 after Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a 2004 version, has called it the most important legislation he's introduced during all his years in the state legislature [elected to the Assembly in November 1998 and the state Senate in Nov. 2004]. It's cleared the State Senate and if it passes the Assembly, Governor Schwarzenegger would be faced with either letting it become law or (again) vetoing it...this time in the run-up to an election that will decide his fate as well as that of the infrastructure bond.
Among those observing in the audience were Don May (California Earthcorps), Jesse Marquez (Coalition for a Safe Environment) and Tom Politeo (Sierra Club, Angeles Chapter, Harbor Vision Task Force).
Mr. Marquez issued a release applauding the efforts that went into writing the Plan but criticized its references to the controversial CA Air Resources Board MOU with CA RRs as well as market based emission reduction programs that he said let polluters purchase credits "that allow them to continue polluting in the most impacted communities that border ports, transportation corridor and distribution center communities." Mr. Marquez's release said the primary reason for "numerous inadequacies in the plan is because the Ports failed to include public and stakeholder participation in the writing of the plan."
Mr. Politeo issued a release saying the Plan "certainly reflects a substantial effort in cleaning the air" and adding that "[i]t will take some time to asses the value of the plan..."
The International Longshore & Warehouse Union issued a supportive release from its San Francisco headquarters, saying it "commends the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for jointly implementing the [CAAP] plan," noting that at a "Faster Freight, Cleaner Air" conference in Long Beach, the union called for "at least a 20 percent reduction in ship stack emissions from current levels within the next four years."
Extended transcript excerpts follow
PoLA Exec. Dir. Geraldine Knatz: ...Never before have we released a report in five languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, because our two ports can no longer wait for the world to catch up to where we need to be. We need to lead the maritime community around the Pacific Rim, and hopefully the world, in the direction it needs to go, and for the sake of our environment and the economic vitality of our ports.
...[among thank you's]...[T]o the public at large, your two Ports have put forth a meaty document with alternatives and options for implementing many of the measures you worked so hard to develop. We see this event as kicking off a new phase of substantive dialogue about our air pollution reduction strategies...
The emission reductions that you'll hear people talk about today are what our industry will do above and beyond regulatory agency actions...We are telling you what the maritime industry can do on its own.
To meet our standards though, we need to advance our development projects because they yield increased efficiency and because growth through approved-project EIRs provides one of the primary methods to implement these far-reaching standards, and our project standards will allow us to grow only if we can show concurrent reductions in port-related health risks. I've seen the data myself and it can be done...
LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill: ...The new Clean Air Action Plan is aggressive and makes a sweeping commitment by the Ports of San Pedro bay to provide cleaner air, less pollution, less health risk to all the citizens living within close proximity of the Ports. It's a partnership that will over time eliminate Port operations as a health issue.
When I set out to promote the changes and revitalization of the City of Long Beach, we talked about the three T's -- trade, tourism and technology. I could not have imagined how incredibly successful one of them in particular would be: trade. It would become one of the cornerstones of Long Beach's revitalization and is now a pillar of economic strength to the region with hundreds of thousands of jobs supported by both Port operations.
But with all that growth, and with all the positive impacts of success, it has had a negative side: increased air pollution. The Port of Long Beach's Green Port policy has been successful in starting to address air pollution in the Port of Long Beach. Now with the release of the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan, we have a coordinated plan by both ports, working independently but together, to combat air pollution, reduce emissions and decrease health risks...
...And no longer, hopefully, will trade growth be linked to air pollution. With this plan, we will retain the benefits of trade to the economy and jobs while decreasing and eventually eliminating the negative impacts.
This is my last three weeks of twelve years [as Mayor], and I am so glad they did this before I left...It makes me proud of both Port Commissions, the heads of the Ports, and this incredibly and innovative and necessary strategy...
PoLA Harbor Comm'n President David Freeman [speaking for L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was delayed in Sacramento]: ...Let me just tell everybody this so that there'll be no misunderstanding. This is the last time we're going to talk about it. We're moving into action. We want your comments. We're going to listen to all the comments from everyone. But these Commissions are going to adopt the Plan in September and it's going to be implemented. So the days of yacking are coming to a screeching halt...
The fact that we have here the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and I realize they're not technically legally adopting this with us, but they're showing their faces here and their logos are on this thing and they participated...We're actually working on the shoulders of the people that came before that. Let's be sure that we acknowledge that. There have been a lot of good people in city government, out of city government, in the community and in the industries who have worked hard to lay the foundation and we're simply taking this stuff one step forward...
This is an Action Plan. This is not a study. These are some standards that, after getting comments we're going to look at hard, and are going to adopt a set of requirements and things are going to start to get cleaner. They have already started to get somewhat cleaner...
...It seems to me that this is the biggest issue that I've ever encountered, I think the Mayor has ever encountered, of social justice, environmental justice, all rolled up into one, and we intend to attack it with all the forces that these two ports have and all the money that we can get out of Sacramento.
But the buck stops here. This is an Action Plan, but we have to be a bit humble. It's a five, six, seven, eight, ten year road. We'll have to adjust as we go...But the Mayor wanted to make sure that we understood that this is a collaborative effort, and it's not just the Ports and legislators and the Mayors. We want the unions involved in this. We want every community organization involved. We want the shippers, the railroads, the trucking companies, we've all got to roll up our sleeves and work out these details together. Because we all want to grow and we're not going to grow unless we can solve this problem. But solve it we can and solve it we must...
Our approach is to respect and encourage, quietly, the regulatory efforts. They help us put pressure, but let's not [have] any doubt about where the responsibility lies. It lies with the Ports. And [to] the shipping companies: we want to work with you so the goods movement can expand, but there's no way -- no way, the Mayor has said this over and over again -- we're saying there's no way it's going to expand unless it expands with very, very, very minimum pollution of the future and the past...
L.A. Councilwoman Janice Hahn [represents San Pedro/Wilmington]: ...It's a good day for everyone who breathes air in the Los Angeles region, because what many people don't realize is that ships -- ships -- contribute 20% of all the air pollution in the Los Angeles basin. That is a huge number, and what we're going today is target the dirty bunker fuel that is spewed by these ships in our harbor...You know when [former] Mayor Hahn declared that there would be no net increase in emissions back in 2001, people said it was impossible. And when the hard working No Net Increase task force brought forth their recommendations, many people thought it would never become a reality. But today with this Clean Air Action Plan we're taking a huge, billion dollar step towards cleaning up our air. We never again have to have that phony debate, that we can either have economic development, good jobs or we can have clean air. We can have both and today we're taking a step in that direction to prove it once and for all...
LB Councilwoman Bonnie Lowenthal: ...I congratulate the Ports, the EPA, the AQMD, California Air Resources Board, for taking this tremendous step, and for committing to the metrics that are involved in developing this strategy and measuring the reduction of pollution...As a Councilmember and MTA Boardmember, I will be there to watch closely, to make sure that the plans we develop for the 710 freeway will be augmented by this terrific step that's taken here today.
PoLB Harbor Comm'n President James C. Hankla: ...We look at the health reports that come out from 'SC [USC], from various researchers around and we shudder. And we shudder because we're burdened with the responsibility of cleaning this up, while we're also burdened with the responsibility of maintaining the economic engine that is these two Ports.
Make no mistake: these two Ports are the economy of southern California. Take these two Ports out of southern California and you have no economy.
And we take that very seriously. We get it. When the Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners adopted our Green Port policy, we set the goal of protecting the community from the harmful environmental impacts of our port operations.
And to do that, we are utilizing every possible tool available, from innovative technologies to groundbreaking lease agreements and now we can add one more tool: effective, collaboration and partnership between the nation's two most successful ports: Long Beach and Los Angeles, the EPA, CARB and the AQMD. By working together, we know we can accomplish far more air quality improvements than any one port or agency working alone could ever hope to accomplish.
In five years, the air quality in this region will be significantly improved thanks to this plan and other efforts by the two ports. We can do this, and we will do this...
...On behalf of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, I'm proud to officially release this historic plan to the public for review and your constructive comments.
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