Governor Should Sign Law to Control Port Pollution Say Harbor Residents, Environmentalists and Elected Officials

New Report Outlines Cost-Effective Methods to Reduce Diesel Emissions from Harbor Operations

LOS ANGELES (September 9, 2004) -- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger should sign a law on his desk to control air pollution from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, a group of city and state officials, environmentalists and harbor-area residents said today.

The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex is the biggest air polluter in Southern California and it is expected to quadruple in size over the next twenty years. The Clean Ports bill, authored by State Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal (D-54), requires the ports to hold pollution at this year's levels even as cargo throughput grows. Although Governor Schwarzenegger has pledged to cut California's air pollution in half, he is under pressure from polluting industries to veto Lowenthal's bill. The Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex accounts for almost a quarter of the particulate matter (PM) pollution in the South Coast region, the most polluted region in the country.

The Lowenthal bill is supported by the Cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two cities directly affected by it. On Thursday morning, Los Angeles City Councilmember Janice Hahn and harbor community members joined Assemblymember Lowenthal, and representatives of the Coalition for Clean Air and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) to urge the governor to sign the port bill.

"Without this law, Southern Californians are going to breathe ever more soot and smog as the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach expand," said Todd Campbell, policy director at Coalition for Clean Air. "I strongly urge the governor to protect the health of Southern Californians by signing the Clean Ports bill."

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach now emit as much diesel exhaust as 16,000 tractor-trailers idling their engines twenty-four hours a day. As a result, residents of San Pedro, Wilmington and Long Beach are plagued by acute and chronic respiratory illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis, and suffer some of the highest cancer risk in the region.

"This bill is a critical test for Governor Schwarzenegger and his aspiration to be California's 'environmental governor,'" said NRDC senior attorney Gail Ruderman Feuer. "The only way he can achieve his pledge of a 50 percent cut in air pollution is to take on emissions at the ports. We need him to stand up to the polluters telling him to veto this bill."

The bill controls pollution and protects public health without limiting port expansion. It allows port authorities to choose from a menu of cost-effective emission reduction technologies for ships, trucks, locomotives and dock equipment at port facilities.

Groups publish 'how-to' manual for cutting port emissions

A new report released today by the Coalition for Clean Air and NRDC proposes a wide range of cost-effective techniques for reducing air pollution from ports. Harboring Pollution: Strategies to Clean Up U.S. Ports makes technical recommendations for how container ports can clean up their operations, including dockside electric power for ships (so they can shut off diesel engines); cleaner fuels for ships, trucks, locomotives and dock tractors; pollution controls for dirty diesel engines; and stricter storm water management. It also makes policy recommendations for federal, state and local regulators that would significantly reduce negative effects on local communities and the environment.

If fully implemented at America's ten largest ports, the measures would cut more than 60 percent of PM emissions and more than 30 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions, a precursor to smog.