Commission Approves Milestone Air Monitoring Accord
Harbor Board Also Endorses State Clean Air Rules
January 10, 2006
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on Monday, January 9, approved a coordinated air quality monitoring network which, together with the Port of Los Angeles, will provide comprehensive, real-time data on port-related emissions in the San Pedro Bay.
The joint monitoring effort from the two ports “will provide more extensive data about the quality of the air in and around the ports, which, in turn, will help us focus our air quality improvement efforts,” said Robert Kanter, the Port of Long Beach’s planning and environmental affairs director.
The rival ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles tentatively agreed to the coordinated monitoring system in December. The Memorandum of Agreement, which was approved unanimously Monday by the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, is still pending approval by the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners.
The MOA calls on the two ports to coordinate air monitoring from four existing stations in and around the Port of Los Angeles and at least two stations under development in Long Beach. The two ports would share sampling data and analyses using methods compatible with those used by state regulatory agencies.
The air quality data will be made available to the public on the Port of Long Beach’s web site, www.polb.com, beginning in the spring.
In other action Monday, the Board approved a resolution in support of new state regulations that will dramatically cut air pollution from ships and cargo-handling equipment at California seaports in coming years.
“We applaud the California Air Resources Board for taking this very important step to improve air quality,” said Harbor Commissioner President Doris Topsy-Elvord. “At the Port, we are doing all we can within the limits of our authority to improve air quality. But we need the help of other government agencies such as the Air Resources Board. We enthusiastically support these groundbreaking rules.”
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved regulations December 8 that will require ocean-going vessels, including container and cruise ships, and cargo-handling equipment to use cleaner-burning, low-sulfur fuels. The CARB rules will require ships to switch to low-sulfur fuels on their auxiliary engines within 24 miles of the coast of California.
Harbor Commissioners noted that the new CARB rules, which are set to take effect in 2007, will substantially reduce environmental pollutants that have been associated with an increased risk to public health. Diesel particulate matter will be cut by 75 percent, according to CARB estimates, and sulfur dioxides will be cut by 80 percent. California is among the first states in the nation to adopt this type of anti-pollution regulation on ships and cargo equipment.
Port of Long Beach officials worked with CARB officials in the development of the rules.
While praising CARB for its new rules on ships and cargo equipment, the Board noted that the agency’s rules failed to address another significant source of diesel emissions, big-rig trucks. In its resolution, the Board asked CARB to develop an aggressive program to reduce emissions from diesel-powered trucks.