Today, after tough and arduous negotiations with NRDC and a number of environmental and community groups, the Port of Los Angeles agreed to implement a long-overdue plan ensuring that as the port expands their operations, harbor residents breathe a little easier.
The agreement provides millions to the harbor community during the next five years to mitigate health impacts associated with expanding the existing TraPac terminal. When completed, the TraPac terminal will be the equivalent of adding the capacity of the Port of Houston to the Port of Los Angeles – in a single project. While TraPac is the largest project in the works, there are 16 additional major projects on the Port’s drawing boards.
NRDC led an alliance that, with the invaluable help of Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and her staff, was first able to get the Port to the table and second help them to understand that any port expansion projects have environmental effects on neighboring communities. The Port has been ignoring these impacts for years through the stratagem of announcing that “overriding considerations” trump the surrounding community’s potential health impacts.
Today’s agreement sets up a non-profit agency that will be funded by $50 million or more from Port revenues. The non-profit is designed to advocate for harbor community interests by, for example, paying for the installation of particulate filters in neighboring schools and double-paned windows in nearby residences. The coup-de-grace is that funding for the non-profit is tied directly to the Port’s growth so that, the more the Port grows, the more money will be available for community projects. This is what “green growth” should require. It is a great day for the neighborhoods near the Port that have been ignored far too long.