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Two Ports Approve Clean Air Action Plan

Landmark Plan to Curb Harmful Emissions from Ships, Trains, Trucks, Terminal Equipment and Harbor Craft to Improve Air Quality in Southern California

November 20, 2006

The governing boards of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have approved the landmark San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan, the most comprehensive strategy to cut air pollution and reduce health risks ever produced for a global seaport complex. 

The Plan was approved November 20 by the Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners and the Port of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners in a joint meeting at Long Beach City Hall. In moving ahead with the plan, commissioners approved amendments directing staff to develop:

--  A truck replacement program to phase out all “dirty” diesel trucks from the ports in five years, replaced with a new generation of clean or retrofitted vehicles and driven by people who earn at least the prevailing wage.
--  Aggressive milestones with measurable goals for air quality improvements.
-- Recommendations to eliminate emissions of ultra-fine particulates.
-- A technology advancement program to reduce green house gases.
-- A public participation process with environmental organizations and the business communities.

The historic vote commits the ports to an aggressive plan to reduce pollution by at least 45 percent in the next five years. The $2-billion Clean Air Action Plan addresses all port-related emission sources -- ships, trains, trucks, terminal equipment and harbor craft -- to significantly reduce health risks posed by air pollution. 

The five-year Clean Air Action Plan was created with the cooperation and participation of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

The Plan includes hundreds of millions of dollars of investments by the two ports for air quality programs, extensive use of ship-to-shore electricity at the ports within five years, a commitment to use pollution-based impact fees pollution-based impact fees so that polluters pay their part to improve air quality.

Emission Reductions

Even as trade grows at the two ports, the Plan aims to cut diesel-related particulate matter (PM) pollution by more than 47 percent and smog forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 45 percent within the next five years, resulting in emissions that will be below 2001 levels. Measures under the Plan also will result in reductions of sulfur oxides (SOx) by more than 52 percent. NOx is a precursor of smog; SOx contributes to particulate matter; and PM has been shown to lead to health problems.

About the Clean Air Action Plan

The Clean Air Action Plan was released for public review and comment in June 2006. Dozens of individuals and groups submitted more than 500 pages of written comments and testified at four public meetings. The revised Action Plan was released in early November with significant changes based on public input. In the final action plan, the ports developed commitments and milestones for achieving air emission reductions and have committed to use pollution-based impact fees so that polluters pay their part to improve air quality. 

The ports agreed to develop tariff-based incentives and requirements, such as vessel speed reduction incentives and port-mandated fuel requirements, to curb harmful air emissions, and committed to work with the air quality regulatory agencies (AQMD, CARB and EPA) to establish San Pedro Bay air quality standards, as well as mechanisms for tracking improvements in air quality.

The Plan commits the ports to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in air quality improvement programs, along with the local air district, the state, and port-related industry. 

Under the Plan the ports will to eliminate “dirty” diesel trucks from San Pedro Bay cargo terminals within five years by helping to finance a new generation of clean or retrofitted vehicles. 

The Plan also calls for all major container cargo and cruise ship terminals at the ports to be equipped with shore-side electricity within five to ten years, so that vessels at berth can shut down their dirty diesel-powered auxiliary engines and plug into clean electricity. The Port of Long Beach will develop shore-side electricity for ships at 10 to 16 Long Beach berths in five years; the Port of Los Angeles will facilitate shore-side electricity for ships at 15 berths within five years. To reduce emissions of air pollutants, ships will also be required to reduce their speeds when entering or leaving the harbor region, use low-sulfur fuels, and employ other emission-reduction measures and technologies.

The Clean Air Action Plan accelerates the efforts of a California Air Resources Board pollution reduction plan by requiring faster replacement of existing cargo-handling equipment with new equipment that will meet the toughest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards.

On the Web

The comprehensive San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan Technical Report, a more concise Overview, and the Comment Compendium is available for review in the environmental section of the Port's web site, as well as at the port headquarters and at local libraries.

Click here to view a fact sheet on the Clean Air Action Plan.

Click here to view a Frequently Asked Questions about the Clean Air Action Plan.

To view the Clean Air Action Plan Technical Report, a more concise Overview, and the Comment Compendium, click here.

To view a Windows Media webstream replay of the event, click on one of the links below. The stream is closed-captioned:

1. Introductions and Roll Call
2. Comments from LA/LB mayors; elected officials
3. Overview of San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan
4. Comments by members of the public
5. Resolution and vote on the Clean Air Action Plan


About the Ports

Moving more than $260 billion a year in trade and more than 40 percent of the nation’s containerized cargo, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are the two largest container seaports in the United States. If taken together, the adjacent ports would be the fifth-largest container port in the world. The two ports support more than 500,000 jobs in Southern California. The ships, trucks, trains and other diesel-powered equipment and craft at the ports are major sources of air pollution in a region that already has some of the worst air quality in the nation. Port-related vessels and vehicles account for 12 percent of the Southern California’s diesel particulate matter pollution, 9 percent of the region’s nitrogen oxide pollution, and 45 percent of the region’s sulfur oxides pollution.

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