CA Air Resources Bd, Pressed By AQMD, Sets Higher Clean Air Goals & Development Of Tougher Regs As "Appropriate" & "Contingent On Feasibility" Incl. Cold Ironing Of Ships (Using Electricity In Port)
LB and L.A. Ports Oppose Adding Cold Ironing To "Short Term" Pollution Reductions (Action 2005-08, Implement 2006-2010) But ARB Includes It
(October 24, 2003) -- More than a hundred members of the public signed up to speak -- including one child who called air pollution criminal -- at a high stakes Oct. 23 meeting of the CA Air Resources Board (ARB) at AQMD's Diamond Bar HQ...where the two agencies wrangled, then resolved, a dispute over a state clean air plan. Under pressure from AQMD, the CA ARB added measures to cut more pollutants, although it may still leave the plan short of meeting a 2010 federal deadline that could trigger loss of billions in federal highway dollars.
AQMD Board chair Dr. William Burke, who also sits on the CA Air Resources Board, offered a motion calling on ARB develop tougher "short term" local measures (i.e. with an implementation date and specific reduction target, 2005-2008, implement 2006-2010) to expedite meeting the federal 2010 standards. A number of officials say meeting those standards is unlikely, without federal intervention to reduce pollution from sources mainly under federal jurisdiction such as ships, trains and airplanes.
Among several measures, Dr. Burke's AQMD motion urged ARB to develop and adopt regulations which "may include any of the following items or other actions as appropriate"...which included "cold ironing for ships calling on the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles."
This was opposed by the Ports of LB and L.A. (details below).
Dr. Burke's AQMD motion also included possible retrofitting of heavy duty diesel trucks and buses, phasing in zero emitting residential lawn and garden equipment, and using low emission units such as LNG and batter/diesel hybrids for non-MOU switcher and short haul locomotives.
After a CA ARB staffer recited a litany of reasons why he felt Dr. Burke's tougher proposals needed "additional evaluation...additional thought...involvement of the stakeholders" and said an elected official had cautioned against impacts on low income people, of "retrofits, electric equipment for gardeners, and scrapping when people can't afford to buy a newer car" and began citing "a pilot study" being done, Dr. Burke had heard enough:
...I'm 64 years old. And this is not a racist statement, this is just how I feel about it.
For all my life, white people have been telling me they gotta study my problem longer. And I still got the problem.
Believe it or not, before I started buying expensive suits, I wore very cheap suits. I got a few dollars now. But when, you know, how we get to this, you know, we gotta further study this impact on low income people. We've been studied to death. And you know our colors didn't change, you know, used to be poor white people who lived in that neighborhood, and then poor black people came in, and now poor brown people live there. We've been studied to death. And literally death.
So I know I'm not supposed to get emotional about this, but that don't get it. I'm willing to go along with studies. I'm willing to be rational about it, but don't keep telling me you've got to study me. My problem is real and today. There are kids dying today.
You live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood in a nice city. You don't need to be studied and they don't need to be studied. They need help. [applause]
When a second ARB official tried to rescue the first by saying the issue was in part "coming up with a subsidy package that enables us to clean up the older cars without taking them away...for the lowest income residents," Dr. Burke replied:
And that was the problem when we started this ten years ago. And that will be the problem ten years from now unless we do something about it.
That's not a new problem. That's the same problem. Poor people don't have money. If you knew that the pollution was there and you knew that that was the kind of stuff we need to do, we should be further down the road...
The Port of LB testified in opposition to Dr. Burke's AQMD proposal to designate cold ironing (ships running on electricity in port, not their own engines) as a "short term" measure (i.e. with an implementation date and regulation targets). Tom Johnson, PhD, Manager of Environmental Planning for the Port of LB said the Ports are already working on reducing diesel emissions...and the Port of LB has already started a study of cold ironing...and AQMD has planned a study but hasn't started it. He called the AQMD cold ironing proposal premature:
"Although cold ironing of cruise ships has been shown to be feasible, the situation with respect to cargo vessels is dramatically different and significantly more complex. The China Shipping settlement in the Port of Los Angeles will be held up as an example of the feasibility of cold ironing of cargo vessels, but in fact that was a political decision that didn't have a technical basis and no ships are cold ironing at the Port of Los Angeles nor is there a schedule for them to do so.
The fact is, the Port of Long Beach supports your staff's approach that keeps cold ironing as a long term measure and we strongly believe that adopting it as a short term measure would set the stage for non-attainment, and embroil the Board, the District and the interested parties in lengthy and non-productive lawsuits [from parties seeking to compel the promised attainment] and consultations."
A representative of the Port of L.A. also opposed the AQMD cold ironing measure.
Public testimony ran for hours. CA ARB made the proceedings available via an internet webcast, which was apparently heavily visited; the audio stream was frequently interrupted for rebuffering.
Much of the public testimony focused on health issues, with speaker after speaker referring to friends who'd died of cancers and children couldn't play outdoors.
However, Mark Pisano, Executive Director for Southern California Association of Governments concluded his testimony by stressing the need for intergovernmental consultations and meetings to accommodate growth. "I urge that we undertake the intergovernmental and interest group negotiations necessary for us to keep this region moving and transportation dollars flowing," he said.
Eventually Dr. William F. Friedman, M.D. (appointed to the ARB by former Gov. Pete Wilson) moved to amend Dr. Burke's AQMD motion, and then use it (as amended) to amend ARB's staff proposal. Dr. Friedman proposed increasing the near-term State commitment to reduce emissions by an additional 97 tons per day, which when added to 23 additional tons ARB staff proposed totaled 120 tons more per day sought by AQMD/Burke.
He then proposed inserting language making CA ARB's development and adoption of regulations on items in Burke's measures and others "contingent on their feasibility," noting that Dr. Burke's motion only said that regulations and other actions may include several items or actions "as appropriate."
And in response to some industry speakers, Dr. Friedman said in pertinent part:
I know that [this] has alarmed some of those who would be affected, would be subject to these categories, but it's a long way from now to any specific proposed control measures which would all be workshopped on full notice, which we would go through the normal regulatory process.
And so I appreciate the concern that some have expressed -- dry cleaners and the industries, pain and others -- but these are areas obviously of emissions, these activities. And the question is when and if it would be feasible and how. But this is putting everybody on notice, but it's no new notice, everybody's known this anyway, that we;ve got to look continually and diligently and vigilantly and aggressively for ways to reduce emissions.
Personally, I'm still bothered that we don't seem to be making that much headway in the refineries, in the ports, in the areas of great pollution, diesel, trucking and I just wish there were more we could be doing, and it seems to me those would be obvious first look at areas.
The ARB Board then voted to adopt Dr. Friedman's proposed changes.
CA ARB staff noted that even with language only limiting measures "as appropriate" and "contingent on their feasibility," the 120 tons of additional daily reductions would nevertheless become a legally binding commitment...with SCAQMD and CA ARB given the challenge of figuring out how to deliver what they promised.
The CA ARB Board is comprised of eleven members appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate...and serve "at the pleasure" of the Governor.
Dr. Friedman was appointed in 1996 by former Governor Wilson. Dr. Burke was appointed in 2000 by Governor Gray Davis...and also chairs the South Coast Air Quality Management District.