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Comments Sought on Middle Harbor Project

Deadline for input on environmental documents is August 8

October 15, 2008

The Port of Long Beach will take comments until August 8 on an environmental impact report/environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) for the Middle Harbor Redevelopment Project, a proposed $750-million, 10-year project that would create 14,000 new, permanent jobs and cut air pollution at two port terminals by 50 percent or more from existing levels.

The Middle Harbor redevelopment plan proposes to reconfigure two older, irregularly shaped container shipping terminals to create one rectangular-shaped facility that would operate in a more efficient and environmentally friendly manner. In addition to the thousands of new, permanent jobs, the project would also generate about 1,000 construction jobs a year during the 10 years of construction. 

Updating the older terminals would enable the Port to fully implement the aggressive environmental measures in its Green Port Policy and Clean Air Action Plan, significantly cutting air pollution even as containerized trade increases. By expanding the Middle Harbor's on-dock rail infrastructure, and moving more cargo by rail directly from the waterfront, the project would take as many as 1,000 trucks a day off the road.

"As proposed in this detailed draft environmental report, the Middle Harbor project would create the most environmentally responsible shipping terminal anywhere in the world," said Port Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. "It fulfills our responsibilities to the environment, economy and community, as it would provide many thousands of new jobs in Southern California while reducing air pollution."

The project would utilize new technologies and cleaner fuels to minimize or eliminate the environmental impacts of shipping operations. For example, all ships would be required to use shore-side electrical power and shut down their diesel engines at berth, and use low-sulfur fuels for their main and auxiliary engines. Among other environmentally friendly measures, the project would require lower-emission switching locomotives, alternative-fuel powered cargo equipment, compliance with the Green Flag vessel speed reduction program, cleaner tugboats and barges, "green" building (LEED) standards for terminal buildings and the reuse or recycling of waste materials during construction. 

The Middle Harbor environmental report was released May 19 for public review and comment, initially through July 11. In early July the Board of Harbor Commissioners extended the comment deadline by 30 days, to August 30. The Middle Harbor draft EIR/EIS and Fact Sheet are available at the Port's web site, www.polb.com. The report is a joint document produced by the Port and the Army Corps of Engineers. See a video of the June 11 public hearing.

The Port is also accepting written comments, which should be sent to 925 Harbor Plaza, Long Beach CA 90802, attn: Richard D. Cameron, Director of Environmental Planning, or by email at cameron@polb.com.

The draft EIR/EIS hearings are the second phase of public input. At the end of 2005 and early 2006 the Port conducted a series of "scoping" meetings to gather public input on issues to be addressed in the report. 

For more information, please see the fact sheet , Q&APowerPoint, or video presentation by Port Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. Visit our environmental documents page for the full, downloadable EIR/EIS report.

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