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    Port of LB Unveils "Healthy Harbor" Initiative, Spotlighting Environmental Efforts; Starts With Air Quality Improvement Program

    (March 18, 2003) -- The Port of LB has unveiled a "Healthy Harbor Long Beach" initiative, spotlighting and undertaking Port environmental measures.

    In a written release noting that the initiative builds on past and current Port environmental efforts (as listed by Port below), Harbor Commissioners voted March 17 to approve an Air Quality Improvement Program that the Port says "combines existing and new efforts that surpass state and federal requirements and commit millions of dollars to reduce diesel emissions by promoting the use of alternative fuels and pollution-control devices."

    The Port release says its Air Quality Improvement Program exceeds state and federal requirements "because it aims to reduce diesel emissions from tenant and port owned vehicles and equipment as well as locomotives"...sources that are less regulated by the federal EPA and the local AQMD. As examples, the Port cited:

    • Conduct at least one pilot project in cooperation with one or more terminal operators to study the feasibility of using liquid natural gas or other alternative fuels in yard tractors, forklifts or other heavy duty terminal equipment

    • Undertake a major study of the "cold-ironing" of ships (using electric rather than internal combustion power while at berth)

    • Require tenants to prepare plans to significantly reduce emissions by 2007

    • Actively promote and fund efforts to develop advanced technology for truck scheduling and freeway message systems that will reduce truck congestion and idling.

    The Port noted that it has already begun evaluating the cold-ironing of ships and has undertaken programs to install pollution control equipment and convert tenant-owned and port-owned vehicles to alternative fuels.

    In the Port release announcing the unveiling of a new "Healthy Harbor Long Beach" logo (a green pelican, light blue waves, yellow sun in a blue field shaped like an "H"), LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill said, "We can continue to improve our quality of life while reaping the economic benefits or Port activity."

    The new Healthy Harbor Long Beach logo will be used on Port materials to (quoting its release) "to help strengthen the identity of environmental programs currently administered by the Port and several new efforts that will be announced over the next year."

    In 2002, the Council and its appointed Harbor Commissioners were for a time on a collision course over then-pending legislation by Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal regulating truck idling times at the Port. Harbor Commissioners opposed a then-pending version of the bill; the Council (motion by Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal & Dan Baker) drew applause from activists by putting that body on record supporting the legislation; a Sacramento compromise was reached and the bill became law.

    In November 2002, the Port took a poke in the eye when environmentalists staged a mock funeral (well covered by area media) highlighting the human toll the activists attribute to diesel emissions from Port related operations. Environmentalists cite AQMD's Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study (MATES-2) implicating diesel emissions in increased cancer risks [ maintains a link to the MATES-2 study on our front page]. As also reported by, other agencies implicate tiny particulates, including diesel, in cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

    In December 2002, as previously reported by, the Council unanimously approved a second proposal by Councilmembers Lowenthal & Baker...this time directing the City Manager to work with the Harbor Dept. to halt the idling of ships while at berth in the Port of Long Beach. The tone at that Council meeting was noticeably less confrontational. Port of LB Executive Director Richard Steinke made a rare Council appearance and while noting the complexities in ending ship idling, offered measured support for exploring the matter.

    And at the March 18, 2003 City Council meeting, Councilmembers Lowenthal and Baker have agendized an item in support of a Port initiative (previously reported by to work with shipping interests to promote off-peak hour operations.

    The Port of Long Beach release cited the following items as part of its history of protecting natural resources:

    [Port release text]

    • Developed a comprehensive stormwater pollution prevention program that received a California Environmental Protection Agency award
    • Successfully relocated a black-crowned night heron nesting area, including more than 50 trees, from the former Long Beach Naval Station
    • Earned a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Western Environmental Hero Award for safely utilizing contaminated sediments from other Southern California locations as part of a structural fill to create new Port terminal land
    • Went beyond state requirements to reduce dust from petroleum coke storage and shipping facilities piles by making rigorous infrastructure and housekeeping improvements, in addition to the mandated changes such as covering petroleum coke piles and adding spray systems to conveyer belts.
    • Cleaned up a state Superfund site containing chemical and petroleum waste dumps on property acquired by the Port, and preventing contamination in runoff from Port property.

    Harbor Commission president John Hancock said in the Port's written release, "In recent years, the Port of Long Beach has made great strides in enhancing air quality, water quality and wildlife habitats in the region, as symbolized by the Health Harbor logo. Through the Health Harbor initiative, we are building on our successes by focusing even more attention and taking an even more aggressive approach toward protecting our natural resources, and re-dedicating ourselves to being a good neighbor."

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