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Old August 23rd, 2007, 10:52 AM   #1
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Port of Los Angeles | Long Beach - Development News

L. A. area's economic engine, and leading polluter. Will the metro area allow it superport status? Updates on the Alameda Corridor and routes out of the basin. Has the dredging been done for future big ships?
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Old August 24th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #2
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What redevelopments have been planned for the port? I never knew that there were projects planned for the port. Converting it into a superport can open up a plethora of opportunities for my birthplace of Long Beach... and we already know how L.A. can benefit from this.
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Old September 11th, 2007, 10:26 PM   #3
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i found this

http://www.sanpedrowaterfront.com/

it be nice if there was a train that went down there seeing that the old redcar ROW still exists. at least in the San Pedro area. I love eating shrimp on the weekends there.
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Old September 12th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by elhooligan View Post
i found this

http://www.sanpedrowaterfront.com/

it be nice if there was a train that went down there seeing that the old redcar ROW still exists. at least in the San Pedro area. I love eating shrimp on the weekends there.
That website won't allow me to link images, but from what I can see on that website San Pedro has come a looooong way. I never knew there were plans to develop around the port. I'll have to pay San Pedro a little visit... the angel lights are definitely a nice touch to the project.
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Old September 12th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #5
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LA/LB is a "superport", its the largest port complex in the Western Hemisphere for heaven's sake.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 10:19 PM   #6
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L.A. Port Plans Massive Marine Facility

By RICHARD CLOUGH
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff
October 18, 2007

The Port of Los Angeles is rolling out preliminary plans today to build a massive marine research facility that officials hope will stimulate economic activity and help revitalize the San Pedro community.

Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the port, has been working behind the scenes for nearly two years to generate support for the project, which would be built on a 28-acre patch of land currently serving as a petrol chemical terminal.

The site, adjacent to downtown San Pedro, is a key battleground in the port’s waterfront development efforts and planners expect the high-level research facility to be a catalyst for the area’s economic resurgence.

“We have this vision of a premier research institution that attracts people from around the world,” Knatz said. “We’re talking about bringing a new industry to San Pedro and new jobs. These are good, high-paying jobs that would be a boost to the San Pedro economy.”

Knatz is expected to unveil the concept for the project, called City Dock No. 1, at tonight’s Los Angeles Harbor Commission meeting. Part of the impetus to move forward with the project, she said, came last week when the Annenberg Foundation said it will commit $50,000 in grant money to begin planning the facility.

The proposed research facility would include academic laboratories, government research facilities and real estate for future maritime-related businesses – what planners are calling a “business incubator.” Ideally, Knatz said, the facility would become a global leader in the study of climate change and sea level rise.

It is too early, she said, to estimate the cost or timeline of the project.
The move comes after the port announced in August it was terminating the lease of New Orleans-based liquid bulk operator Westway Terminal Co. Inc., which has occupied the site since 1996, as part of a larger effort to make the San Pedro waterfront more community-friendly. The port bought out the remaining 18 years of Westway’s contract for $17 million.

The terminal is zoned for commercial activities and local business leaders envision an economic rebirth in San Pedro built, in part, around this new research institute.

“This is the kind of thing that over the long term can lead to an economic wealth cycle for the community,” said Herb Zimmer, chairman of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce committee to promote waterfront economic development. “It breeds ideas and innovations and things that are going to become the basis of the new economy.”

Zimmer, owner of PriorityOne Printing, Copying & Graphics in downtown San Pedro, opened his shop 28 years ago and said he has seen the local economy deteriorate as years of neglect and the decline of the once-thriving fishing industry have eliminated many jobs from the blue-collar community.

“I want to see the ports replace the jobs that we lost during the ’70s,” he said.
The port is currently in the middle of multi-year San Pedro waterfront improvement project, which includes the construction of a cruise ship promenade and the development of new parks and walkways. In all, the redevelopment efforts span 400 acres.

As part of those efforts, the port evicted Westway from its Main Channel terminal, which Knatz said was viewed as a hazardous area by the community.

The port already has a marine research facility known as the Southern California Marine Institute, which is a partnership of eight California State University schools, as well as USC and Occidental College. But with its cramped facilities hidden within Terminal Island, the institute has welcomed the idea of expanding its laboratory space and moving to a more attractive location along the Main Channel, which has almost 500,000 square feet of warehouse space and nearly 5,000 feet of wharf.

Knatz said the institute may relocate to the proposed research facility, but that has not yet been determined.

This project is already almost two years in the making for Knatz. She first had the idea to push for a marine research facility a little before she took over as executive director in January of 2006. The notion stagnated until this summer, when the Westway agreement changed the landscape. At that point, she said, her ideas seemed to become more viable.

Though she said she “wasn’t really out hunting” for financial support, she received word last week that the Annenberg Foundation, a Radnor, Pa.-based philanthropic institution, would give a $50,000 grant to help move the project along.

“It helped spur a recent flurry of activity,” she said.

The port will likely lose future revenue by dedicating an entire terminal to research and related pursuits – a sacrifice the port seems willing to make.
“We recognize that it’s not going to make us the kind of money as if it was a container terminal, and that is not part of this plan,” she said.

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Source: Los Angeles Business Journal
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 10:45 PM   #7
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^ Nice. Although we may lose money for a while, we're gonna get it all back with that facility by all of the jobs it will create and we'll still be able to maintain our status as a superport.
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 11:02 PM   #8
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now all we need is light rail to take us down there once the development is built. The old Pacific electric did.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 01:26 AM   #9
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Port expansion expected to win approval

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 6, 2007

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission today is expected to approve a long-delayed port expansion project that may generate as many as 6,000 new regional jobs and double the acreage of one of the West Coast's largest shipping facilities.

The commission, which has not approved an expansion project at the port in six years because of lawsuits filed by environmentalists, has already strongly endorsed the TraPac Terminal's environmental impact report. The report estimates that the firm will be able to process nearly 70% more shipping containers while generating less pollution than it creates now.

The proposal would require various measures aimed at combating pollution in the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex, the largest fixed source of air pollution in Southern California. Docking ships would be required to plug into on-shore power, rather than idle their engines in port. Diesel-powered cranes would have to be replaced with less-polluting electrical cranes.

But commission members also acknowledge that the project will increase air pollution in the short term, particularly while it is under construction. Environmental groups are demanding stricter emission standards at the project.

The city estimates that the project will add more than 1,800 truck trips a day to the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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Source: Los Angeles Times
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Old December 7th, 2007, 10:20 AM   #10
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Commission OKs L.A. port expansion

Backers cite 'green' elements, but homeowners and environmentalists raise various concerns.

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 7, 2007

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission on Thursday approved a controversial proposal to increase ship calls by 30% at one of the West Coast's largest shipping terminals and add 1,800 daily truck trips to an area already struggling to cope with some of Southern California's most polluted air.

About 200 people attended the commission hearing at Banning's Landing Community Center in Wilmington.

The panel voted 4 to 0 to certify the environmental impact report for the $1.5-billion upgrade at the TraPac Terminal.

Public testimony on the matter stretched more than six hours.

"This is the best thing that's happened here in two years," said Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

"We're on our way. We're going to do it. We're going to clean it up," she said with a broad grin.

Andy Mardesich, president of the San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners Coalition, was not impressed.

"This EIR continues to conduct port business in the very same manner that it always has," he testified, "and that, my friends, is with a resolute dedication to conduct commerce without conscience."

The commission's action elated business leaders led by Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce President Gary Toebben, who had strongly endorsed the project.

He predicted that the expanded terminal would create as many as 6,000 new jobs, generate $200 million a year in tax revenue and provide a template for green-lighting at least 15 port expansion projects long delayed by other environmental challenges.

"If it fails," Toebben said before the vote, "it will be a dramatic failure for the concept of green growth at the ports."

The proposal would require various measures aimed at combating pollution in the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex, the largest fixed source of air pollution in Southern California. For example, diesel-powered cranes would have to be replaced with less-polluting electrical cranes.

Some port projects have been held up since 2001, when the Los Angeles City Council approved plans for a 174-acre terminal for China Shipping Container Lines Co., prompting lawsuits by environmental groups that wanted assurances that environmental reviews would be thorough.

That suit ended in 2003 with the port and city announcing an unusual $60-million settlement with the environmental groups. Most of the money will go to a wide array of projects to reduce air pollution.

In an effort to avoid confrontations over the TraPac project, port authorities spent more than four years developing its environmental impact report.

In her comments before the board Thursday, Knatz said: "Last January, port management and staff agreed on five important things this organization had to achieve in 2007. No. 1 on our list was 'deliver an EIR to the board that you could feel good about certifying.' We believe we have done that."

But attorneys representing the National Resources Defense Council and concerned local residents said the report tucked potentially damaging information about the project's environmental impacts into its back pages.

For example, the report acknowledges in Appendix D that air pollution will increase in the short term while the project is under construction.

"No one has ever agreed to an increase in emissions in the short term," said Janet Schaaf-Gunter of the homeowners coalition. "Increasing emissions is not growing green."

Over time, however, the project will generate significantly less in dangerous air particulates and other emissions than there would have been without the "green" mitigation measures.

But port authorities surprised environmentalists in attendance by announcing that they have no means of curbing anticipated increases of greenhouse gases from the project, including carbon dioxide.

Environmentalists were also distressed that the board had approved a massive expansion before the port's Clean Air Action Plan is fully implemented.

Although the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach agreed in November to scrap old diesel rigs and replace them with newer, cleaner trucks, they have yet to develop a means of enforcing the ban, intended to help slash port-related pollution linked to 2,400 premature deaths in the region a year.

"They put the cart before the horse," said Adrian Martinez, an attorney with the National Resources Defense Council, one of eight groups represented in a letter of concern delivered Wednesday to Ralph G. Appy, the Port of Los Angeles' director of environmental management.

On Thursday, Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn, whose district includes the port, urged the board to advance the TraPac project but "to be bold" and amend the EIR to require extra environmental protections.

She wants a more aggressive timeline to require use of low-sulfur fuel in diesel-powered vessels and on-dock electrical power to eliminate idling in port.

"Certify this EIR today for the community of Wilmington," she said, "but also amend it to protect the health of the community of Wilmington and all of Los Angeles."

In Knatz's argument for approval, she said the particulars could be worked out later.

Schaaf-Gunter compared Knatz's promise to "the check is in the mail."

However, Knatz said a lawsuit challenging TraPac's environmental impacts would only delay realization of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's call for "green growth" at the nation's busiest port.

"That would be a darn shame," she said.

In a related matter, Villaraigosa and state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown Jr. were expected to announce today an agreement to ease future terminal expansions by constructing solar panels to provide a clean source of energy for the ports and thus reduce harmful emission.

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Source: Los Angeles Times
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Old December 7th, 2007, 10:47 AM   #11
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Wow. That's pretty impressive, seeing how we're the busiest port in America already... this combined with the marine research facility is gonna create a lot of jobs and some nice tax revenues for the city.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:42 AM   #12
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LOS ANGELES HARBOR COMMISSION CERTIFIES EIR AND APPROVES BERTH 136-147 TraPac CONTAINER TERMINAL EXPANSION PROJECT

Terminal Build-Out to 2025 will Apply Unprecedented Environmental Measures as First EIR Under San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan

SAN PEDRO, Calif. - Dec. 6, 2007 - Los Angeles Harbor Commissioners Thursday evening approved the Berth 136-147 TraPac container terminal expansion project - first major capital improvement project in the San Pedro Bay Port in seven years. The TraPac container terminal project is also the first major project in the nation’s leading seaport complex to apply groundbreaking emissions mitigation measures outlined in the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) which was approved a year ago by Los Angeles and Long Beach port commissioners.

“Today we move from talking about how we’re going to “grow green” at the Port of Los Angeles to actually doing it out on the terminals,” said S. David Freeman, president of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission. “This project sets the new industry standard for responsible and environmentally sustainable cargo terminal expansion.”

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., added: “Our main goal for 2007 was to bring a major construction project to our Board with an environmental document that everyone could feel good about, and we’ve done it. For the first time ever, we’ve addressed the health risks associated with a terminal expansion project and we’ve found ways to significantly reduce pollutants – all while addressing increased trade, adding a rail yard and creating hundreds of jobs at TraPac.”

The TraPac Terminal expansion, between Berths 136 and 147 on the northwest perimeter of the Port, will allow TraPac to expand cargo handling in an efficient manner from 900,000 TEUs (baseline year 2003) to 2.4 million TEUs by 2025. At the same time, particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns will be reduced by 75 percent and nitrogen oxides (NOx) will drop by 55 precent below baseline levels as a result of mitigation measures applied during project operations. By 2015, total project emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) will be reduced approximately 50 percent. The health risks associated with the modernized terminal operations will be well below regulatory standards of significance and will reduce the estimated cancer risk associated with terminal operations to below baseline levels in large parts of Wilmington and San Pedro.

A variety of environmental mitigation measures are included in the project: requirements of vessel speed reductions when ships are transiting within the South Coast Air Basin; use of lower-sulfur fuel in ships; plugging ships into shore-side electric power while at berth (AMP or Alternative Maritime Power); use of clean container handling terminal equipment; construction of a new on-dock rail facility; traffic-relieving surface road and terminal entry improvements; clean trucks meeting EPA 2007 standards; and energy-efficient “Gold” LEED standard terminal offices.

Benefits to the local community incorporated in the project include an open, 30-acre buffer area between the TraPac container terminal and the Wilmington community, 300 new terminal jobs and a total net employment of as many as 5,433 regional jobs annually connected directly or indirectly to terminal operations at build out, and 2,800 construction jobs at peak construction. The Berth 136-147 container terminal operation will generate approximately $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion in revenues. Annual tax revenues associated with construction jobs for the peak year of build-out activity could be as much as $24.1 million in federal taxes, $5.6 million in state taxes and $2.4 million in local taxes.

Celebrating its Centennial in 2007, the Port of Los Angeles is America's premier port. As the leading seaport in the nation in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars. At the Port of Los Angeles, high priority is placed on responsible and sustainable growth initiatives, combined with high security, environmental stewardship and community outreach. For its industry leading environmental initiatives, the Port received two Environmental Protection Agency awards in 2006. The Port of Los Angeles - A cleaner port. A brighter future.

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Source: Port of Los Angeles
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Benefits to the local community incorporated in the project include an open, 30-acre buffer area between the TraPac container terminal and the Wilmington community, 300 new terminal jobs and a total net employment of as many as 5,433 regional jobs annually connected directly or indirectly to terminal operations at build out, and 2,800 construction jobs at peak construction. The Berth 136-147 container terminal operation will generate approximately $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion in revenues. Annual tax revenues associated with construction jobs for the peak year of build-out activity could be as much as $24.1 million in federal taxes, $5.6 million in state taxes and $2.4 million in local taxes.

Celebrating its Centennial in 2007, the Port of Los Angeles is America's premier port. As the leading seaport in the nation in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues.
Although I wonder what's gonna be done with that 30 acre buffer spot?
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Old December 11th, 2007, 01:07 AM   #14
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^What? Whats on your mind maaaan?
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Old December 11th, 2007, 09:21 AM   #15
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^What? Whats on your mind maaaan?
I had some Hennessy when I typed that out. :-/ Only after being sober do I realize how dumb that sounds.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 12:38 PM   #16
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SHIPPING
Export surge helps keep L.A.-Long Beach on top

Overall traffic in '07 is down at the nation's busiest port complex.
By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 17, 2008
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach remained the nation's busiest seaport complex for cargo containers in 2007, even though they saw a decline in traffic for the first time in at least 20 years. But in a shift, exports grew as the dollar's declining value helped U.S. companies ride into new markets and to record-breaking sales.

One of those benefiting was Los Angeles Grain Terminal in Long Beach, a 49-year-old company that packs cargo containers with grain from the Midwest for sale in Asia. A year ago, the company was running a single work shift five days a week with about 20 employees. Now it is running two full-time shifts with 35 workers on the job six days a week.

"We are absolutely at capacity as far as loading goes. The dollar has fallen and American agricultural products are a bargain in the world. All of a sudden, there was this huge demand," said company President Howard Wallace.

The company added customers in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam and had strong sales in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, he said.

Experts say the export surge is a clear sign of the reversal of fortunes that comes with a slowing economy, increasingly cautious consumers, tighter credit due to the real estate slowdown and a weak dollar. Compared with 2006, boxed imports through the two ports in 2007 remained flat at 8.1 million containers while exports grew by more than 18%, to 3.2 million containers from 2.7 million.

Overall, the ports moved 15.7 million containers in 2007, down 100,000 from 2006. The other big change was a reduction in the number of empty containers shipped back to Asia. With imports slowing, there was simply no rush to send them back.

"When the U.S. economy is growing more slowly relative to foreign economies, this is what you see," said Jerry Nickelsburg, an economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast. "That export growth is one of the strengths of the U.S. economy right now."

"Our sales are easily up 100% over the past year," said Brad Heier, president of San Juan Capistrano-based Globe Runners Inc., another company involved in moving agricultural goods to Asia, mostly grain and soybeans. The boom came in the last half of 2007, Heier said -- thanks to China.

"We were not doing a lot of business there before, but they have an economy that's growing, and what we ship out is needed to feed them," he said.

Although the rise in exports has boosted a few local companies, experts say the Southern California ports overall won't see employment growth until imports pick up again.

"It hurts Southern California because we have so much of a logistics base built around moving those imports on to the rest of the nation," said John Husing, an economist who follows the goods transport industry.

Finished goods such as furniture, apparel, toys and electronics are the biggest categories of imported goods. U.S. exports tend to be lower-value goods such as wastepaper, fabrics, cotton, animal feed and scrap metal, said Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.

Nathan Frankel, owner and president of Fontana-based Advanced Steel Recovery Inc., patented a machine that breaks scrap metal down into a form that is easily loaded onto cargo containers.

"Our invention has allowed us to take advantage of the demand from developing nations, and we have an unencumbered supply. We have doubled the tonnage we moved in 2006," Frankel said.

Experts expect more of the same this year.

"This will be a year of sluggish economic growth, with recovery and more normal growth next year. And we're not seeing the dollar gain in value significantly in the near future," UCLA's Nickelsburg said.

ron.white@latimes.com
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Old February 19th, 2008, 10:14 AM   #17
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L.A., Long Beach port officials split over truck pollution


DECISION: Port of Long Beach officials will vote today on their version of a plan to deal with diesel emissions from trucks.
Program to cut diesel fumes may be affected as officials appear divided over how to treat truckers who haul cargo in old, polluting vehicles.

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 19, 2008
For months, officials in Los Angeles and Long Beach have touted plans to jointly combat air pollution generated by their adjacent ports, but a much-vaunted program to replace thousands of polluting trucks has hit a significant snag.

The problem reveals that officials at the cities' ports have sharply differing views on how to treat the 16,500 truckers serving the nation's busiest port complex.

In a move that disappointed environmentalists and Los Angeles port officials, the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Friday released a plan to slash truck-related diesel pollution that would allow trucking companies to use employee drivers, independent contractor drivers or a combination -- as they do now. The commissioners are expected to vote on the proposal today.

Environmentalists and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters had hoped Long Beach would take a radically different approach -- that trucking and shipping companies would be compelled to hire the truckers. The burden of owning, operating and maintaining the fleet of cleaner big rigs would fall to the companies.

"Their announcement caught us all by surprise," said Patricia Castellanos, chairwoman of the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports, an environmental group. "We're all holding out hope that Long Beach will rethink its decision to move forward on Tuesday because it jeopardizes the success of the landmark clean air action plan they approved in 2006."

That plan was approved with much fanfare by both ports, which had viewed each other with distrust for decades.

Last November, when the ports took further steps to implement the plan, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, "For the longest time, we were working on separate tracks. Let's join hands and work together."

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster added, "Long Beach and Los Angeles continue to lead the world in pushing for cleaner air and healthier environment with our shared goal of having the cleanest ports in the world."

But that was November.

Although the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners is still studying the matter, it has expressed interest in the option Long Beach has rejected -- of having trucking companies hire the independent truckers.

That option has the backing of the Teamsters, along with the environmental groups.

"Two entities that have worked together toward cleaner air are not exactly on the same page at the same time," said David Freeman, president of the Los Angeles harbor board. "Even in the best of marriages there is a need for discussion every once in a while when one partner decides to move out a little ahead of the other.

"We're not going to turn aloof from this issue until we have a program that provides a fair shake for the drivers," Freeman added. "We cannot leave these drivers on the short end of the stick."

Becki Ames, chief of staff for Foster, agreed, up to a point. "It doesn't scare us that there is a difference of opinion," she said. "What scares us is not acting to clean the air as quickly as possible.

"If their board is not ready to go yet, fine," she added. "Ours is."

Underlying one element of the dispute are opposing views of a continuing effort to try to unionize the ports' independent truckers.

Change to Win, a Washington, D.C.-based labor coalition has partnered with the Teamsters to expand union membership. The coalition in late December gave $500,000 to Villaraigosa's Prop. S campaign, a $243-million telephone tax passed Feb. 5.

Critics of the employee provision of the clean truck program, however, are concerned that it could be used by the Teamsters as a springboard to launch unionization efforts at ports nationwide.

A less controversial element in the Long Beach plan would make trucking firms register their drivers with the port, and tag trucks with radio-frequency identification devices so authorities could monitor compliance with security, maintenance and insurance requirements.

It would also establish a $2-billion financing plan with three options to help truckers acquire clean vehicles: a lease agreement; a grant for an engine retrofit, and grants for up to 80% of the cost of buying a truck.

A new 18-wheeler costs about $100,000 to $120,000, port authorities said.

"In order to get one of our grants, an operator would have to agree to scrap their old truck," said Long Beach Port spokesman Art Wong. "The goal is to modernize the truck fleet here and ensure we don't push the old trucks into some other community where they would continue to pollute the air."

In a statement, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard Steinke described the proposal to be considered today as "the fastest and most effective way to meet our critical environmental objectives and provide the accountability we need for clean air, while giving the trucking industry the flexibility to meet its business challenges."

But David Pettit, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the Long Beach proposal was "just the same old pig with a fresh coat of lipstick."

"It doesn't have any more accountability built into it than the current plan," he said. "The burden won't be on some well-capitalized trucking company, it will be on people taking home eight to 10 bucks an hour."

Long Beach port officials did not dispute speculation that their plan might force some already struggling independent drivers out of business.

"It may bring new people into the industry," Wong said, "but the oldest, dirtiest trucks will be pushed out and scrapped."


louis.sahagun@latimes.com

Times staff writer David Zahniser contributed to this report.

Last edited by milquetoast; February 19th, 2008 at 10:19 AM.
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Old February 20th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #18
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Long Beach harbor panel OKs plan to reduce pollution

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 20, 2008
Over the objections of environmental, public health and labor organizations, the Long Beach harbor commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a clean-air plan that continues to place the burden of owning and maintaining diesel big rigs on drivers rather than on shipping companies that hire them.

Port authorities called the move a "victory for clean air" and a final element of a clean trucks program that will replace and modernize the entire fleet of trucks serving the Long Beach ports.

The vote by the Board of Harbor Commissioners followed a six-hour meeting marked by emotional testimonies from dozens of drivers.

The truckers said they could not afford to buy or maintain new trucks and urged the port to compel shipping companies to hire the drivers.

Also testifying before the board were representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Lung Assn., who blasted the plan as a "tarted-up" version of the current system, which allows trucking companies to use employee drivers, independent contractor drivers or a combination of the two.

As a result, the representatives argued, commodities are kept low at the expense of drivers. They criticized the board for passing the plan without the support of the Port of Los Angeles Board of Commissioners.

A letter to the board from the Natural Resources Defense Council said, "Perhaps the most glaring flaw in the port's program is the lack of its key partner and neighbor, the Port of Los Angeles."

"If Los Angeles decides to go in a different direction in its clean-trucks program, the result could be chaos at the ports," the letter said. "Staff has failed to address what will happen if a Long Beach-approved truck is not allowed access to the Port of Los Angeles or vice versa."

Long Beach board members, however, said they worried about the health risks of delaying the program. They also questioned their authority to force a company to hire drivers. "I'm not entirely comfortable with the proposal," said board President Mario Cordero. "But time is of the essence."
louis.sahagun@latimes.com
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Old February 26th, 2008, 09:13 AM   #19
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Rail chief thinks 'green' at ports

Executive wants to build a $300-million facility where cargo containers would be loaded onto trains.
By Jeffrey L. Rabin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 26, 2008
The chief executive of one of the nation's biggest railroads spent Monday promoting a plan to build a $300-million rail yard close to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where cargo containers would be loaded directly onto trains instead of being trucked up the Long Beach Freeway.


Matthew K. Rose, chairman, chief executive and president of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, touted the project, which would be located four miles from the ports. Proponents say the plan would substantially reduce air pollution and chronic traffic congestion on the 710 Freeway.

Rose pushed the plan in a variety of locations -- aboard a posh, private dining car at Union Station, in a closed-door meeting with officials from the Port of Los Angeles and during a speech at a cargo industry conference in downtown L.A. Rose said the project would enhance the environment while expanding the ability to handle a tidal wave of goods flowing through the ports from Asia.

"We need to grow, but grow green," Rose said, echoing remarks by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the same meeting.

If the Southern California International Gateway facility is approved for industrial land in west Long Beach, Wilmington and Carson, Rose said the cleanest trucks available would be used to haul containers up the Terminal Island Freeway from the ports. There, the steel containers would be loaded onto rail cars using state-of-the-art electric-powered cranes. Yard locomotives and vehicles would be powered by cleaner-burning natural gas.

"It is BNSF's commitment to build the cleanest and greenest [truck and rail] facility in North America," Rose said.

A report on the environmental effects of the project has yet to be finished by the Port of Los Angeles.

But S. David Freeman, president of the Los Angeles Harbor Commission, said in an interview that the facility would do "tremendously beneficial things in terms of the environment."

Freeman and Michael Christensen, deputy executive officer of the Port of Los Angeles, met privately with railway officials a short time later.

Environmental groups are skeptical about building a vast rail yard in an area near a high school and elementary school.

"Even if you have the cleanest trucks possible, if you're dropping 750,000 of them into a heavily impacted community, I'm thinking that's not going to be good," said David Pettit, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The environmental group has filed suit against other port projects and recently warned Long Beach officials that it would go to federal court unless that port moves quickly to clean up the air.

Although railroad officials say the project will dramatically relieve truck traffic on the Long Beach Freeway, Martin Schlageter, campaign director for the Coalition for Clean Air, said the new rail yard could still have a major effect on harbor-area communities.

"The closer you are to it, the more worrisome it is to you," he said. "The reality of increasing trade is these trucks are nearer to your neighborhood and your school."

Schlageter said locomotives that would haul the trains up the Alameda Corridor and through the Inland Empire need to be upgraded with the cleanest technology possible to cut nitrogen oxides that contribute to the Los Angeles area's smog problem and to reduce microfine particulates that can cause cancer and respiratory disease.

Railroad officials have met with residents in the area around the proposed rail yard and say they have addressed some of their concerns in designing the facility. A sound wall would be built and trees planted between the rail yard and the neighboring community.

A professionally produced DVD in English and Spanish has been distributed to residents and officials, promoting the importance of the project in providing jobs and keeping the ports at the forefront of expanding international trade.


jeffrey.rabin@latimes.com

Times staff writer David Zahniser contributed to this report.
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Old February 28th, 2008, 10:41 AM   #20
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Court rejects California limits on ship emissions



Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
The ship engines targeted by California’s rule account for about 15% of the Los Angeles region’s total diesel emissions, according to a 2005 state air board report.

Appellate judges say the state needs federal approval for the regulation, which was designed to cut pollution generated by ports.
By Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 28, 2008
A federal appeals court Wednesday rejected a state regulation that reduced emissions from ships, dealing a blow to California's attempt to combat one of the major sources of smog-forming pollution in the Los Angeles region.

The ruling means that the state must seek federal approval before imposing pollution limits on the thousands of cargo ships, cruise ships and other marine vessels that visit its ports.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that California's new regulation is preempted by federal law. The Clean Air Act allows California to set its own standards for various vehicles and engines if it receives waivers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The state argued that in this case it didn't technically need a waiver, but the judges disagreed.

Ships sailing into the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are considered a major source of particulates, nitrogen oxides and sulfur, pollutants that cause the region to frequently violate federal health standards.

Microscopic soot from diesel engines can lodge in lungs, triggering heart attacks, asthma and other cardiovascular and respiratory problems, scientists say. Diesel exhaust has also been linked to lung cancer.

The ruling is the second setback in two months to California's efforts to combat air pollution rather than wait for federal action.

For four decades, the state has adopted its own regulations for cars, trucks, factories, consumer products and other sources of air pollution, often prompting the federal government to set similar standards.

Since the 1970s, the EPA has granted California hundreds of waivers allowing it to set its own emission standards.

But in December, the agency denied the state's request to impose standards to reduce greenhouse gases from automobiles.

The EPA administrator has argued that, unlike smog and diesel fumes, climate change is a global problem, not a state one.

The California Air Resources Board immediately stopped enforcing the ship rule Wednesday as its attorneys debated their options. They will either appeal to the Supreme Court or seek a waiver from the EPA.

Air board officials said the court ruling will delay, but not stop, emission limits on the ships.

"This is critical to protecting public health, particularly around ports," said air board spokeswoman Gennet Paauwe. "It is part of our large plan to cut emissions, particularly for the ports and goods-movement sectors."

The ship rule was adopted by the air board in 2005 and implemented last year. It addressed the use of auxiliary diesel engines within 24 nautical miles of the coast. Such engines, which often run on highly polluting bunker fuel, provide power for onboard electricity.

The engines emit an estimated 1,400 tons a year of particulates in the L.A. Basin and account for about 15% of the region's diesel emissions, according to a 2005 air board report.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Assn., a San Francisco-based group of shipping companies, filed suit to block enforcement of the rule. A federal district court sided with the association in August, and Wednesday's ruling reaffirms that decision.

In June, the air board is scheduled to consider a separate regulation for the main engines that propel ships. The court ruling could mean that California would first have to seek EPA authorization.

John McLaurin, president of the shipping association, said the industry prefers federal or international standards, "which will ensure consistent application of air quality rules and meaningful emissions reductions throughout the world."

Some shipping companies have already complied with the rule by switching to low-sulfur fuels, lowering speeds voluntarily or using shore-side electrical power. In 2004, nearly 10,000 oceangoing ships visited California ports, half of them container ships.

"This lawsuit was not about whether emissions from vessels should be reduced but about who should have the jurisdiction to impose and enforce requirements on international trade," McLaurin said.

Attorneys for the air board contended that the regulation applied only to old engines, not to new ones, so they argued that they did not need EPA authorization because it was not an emissions standard.

Two environmental groups, the city of Long Beach and the South Coast Air Quality Management District intervened in the case in support of the state board.

"Our staff decided to go ahead and regulate because we felt we did have regulatory authority," Paauwe said.

The court rejected that argument, calling the regulation an emissions standard and citing similar rulings by other courts.

State officials do not know whether the EPA is likely to approve a waiver for the ship rule. State and local control of air pollution from ships, airplanes and railroads has long been controversial because of laws safeguarding interstate commerce and concerns that such rules should be international.

marla.cone@latimes.com
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