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    Mayor Foster Tells CSULB Journalism Students He "Reluctantly Supports" Prop 1B, Opposes Proposed LNG Facility In City's Port

    by Duke Rescola
    Special to

    LB Mayor Bob Foster spoke to CSULB journalism students on Oct. 31. Duke Rescola is a junior journalism major and part of Professor Barbara Kingsley's news reporting class. He filed this report...which is pleased to post with his Professor's permission.

    (Oct. 31, 2006, updated from initial post) -- Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster told Cal State Long Beach students today [Oct. 31] he "reluctantly supports" Prop 1B, a nearly $20 billion infrastructure bond, to improve air quality, congested port traffic and port security, but is against building an LNG storage terminal in the city's Port.

    Photo credit: Duke Rescola

    Foster addressed students in Barbara Kingsley’s news reporting class, insisting the federal government should share responsibility and costs for improving the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, citing air quality as being among the worst in the country.

    "If you just took infrastructure and pollution, it would take about $20 billion to help solve these major problems," said Foster. "Millions of Californians will have to pay that debt -- so Costco, Wal-Mart and Target can move their goods faster out of the port." He added, "Long Beach residents will no longer tolerate their kids getting asthma or cancer so some guy in Kansas can buy a new television set."

    Foster said building a liquefied natural gas facility in the Port of Long Beach is too dangerous to consider, without exploring every other option first. He said he is more supportive of putting the controversial loading and storage facilities offshore.

    "Putting a loading station 20 miles off shore mitigates both terrorist and safety problems. It makes no sense to put it in an area as populated as the city and port," Foster said, explaining the most dangerous areas would be within a three-mile radius of the stored material. It really ought to be someplace else." He said he would block efforts to put the facility in the Port of Long Beach. The most recent environmental report on the project is due out in December, Foster said.

    In other topics, Foster also said he was:

  • Split over the issue of Home Depot building on the city’s east side. He said for him, a bigger concern is the fact the city doesn't have a master plan for developing the east side; and

  • Supports implementing a shipping container fee to help make infrastructure improvements to port traffic, air pollution and security.

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