Electric LA — LA & Long Beach Ports Making Waves on Zero Emissions Technologies
Today, Mayor Garcia from Long Beach and Mayor Garcetti from Los Angeles came together to announce a new vision for port operations. It is one that moves away from fossil fuels and combustion generally by advancing zero emissions technologies.
Now, making grandiose statements about port pollution is nothing new. The two prior Mayors of Los Angeles have each moved major policies related to ports and air quality. Back during Mayor Hahn’s administration, the City in the wake of some very successful litigation from the Natural Resources Defense Council, Coalition for Clean Air, and two homeowners groups from San Pedro over the China Shipping terminal expansion, set forth the No Net Increase task force. That effort sought to ensure there is no increase in pollution even as port operations expanded — or just not to make things worse than current conditions.
In 2006, then Mayor Villaraigosa (Antonio Villaraigosa) combined efforts with then Mayor Foster of Long Beach to push forward the Clean Air Action Plan — a blueprint for dramatically reducing air pollution, which did go a long way in reducing toxic diesel emissions.
Unlike the prior two efforts, the joint directive from these mayors makes clear the mayoral direction to progress towards a zero emission technology future. It also recognizes that there needs to be deep partnerships with utilities like LA Department of Water and Power and Southern California Edison to make this a reality.
The other exciting part of this work is the creation of the Green Ports Collaborative, which will bring together mayors and ports around the country to advance this collective mission of zero emission technologies. There’s been much discussion in recent weeks about
Overall, the environmental justice groups that have been working on port pollution for many years like East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, and the Coalition for a Safe Environment deserve a lot of credit for compelling this vital directive. They were the first groups to really call for a zero emission future, and since then, several environmental organizations have joined this effort. Today is a reflection of that significant advocacy paying off.
But, we can’t declare victory yet. The hard work begins now. The coming months will be filled with making sure that the Harbor Commissions for both ports fulfill the Mayoral directives by approving a plan that codifies this zero emission vision, but also sets real and concrete steps to achieve that vision. This will include short-, medium-, and long-term benchmarks to ensure robust increases in zero emissions vehicles.
My hope is that by this time next year, we will continue to see zero emission equipment on port properties and coming onto port properties. I understand this transition will not happen overnight, but what can happen now is setting our course for the zero emission harbor future, which will mean fewer kids miss school because of asthma and other respiratory illnesses and fewer people’s lives are cut short from breathing toxic pollution.
Being the resistance to the activities at the federal level to dismantle our environmental protections takes more than just press conferences. It takes hard work from the ports, and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping them achieve this critical transition to zero emissions.