Port plan offers healthier future for our children and grandchildrenRelease Date: 2017-11-07
If you need evidence that we do not have to make the false choice between prosperity and environmental health, look no further than the twin ports of the San Pedro Bay.
Our ports are the beating heart of Southern California’s economy — supporting one out of every nine jobs in our region, and nearly three million across the America. Close to 40 percent of all goods shipped into the United States come in through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
That is an extraordinary economic impact, but the operations at these indispensable gateways to international commerce cause significant air pollution. Our communities deserve cleaner air, and that’s why the ports set out a landmark Clean Air Action Plan in 2006 to reduce emissions in a meaningful, measurable ways that improve air quality and protect public health.
The plan has already challenged us to deploy strategies that make real progress on reducing air pollution, and we know that it’s working — since the CAAP was adopted, we have reduced diesel emissions at the ports by 87 percent, and cut greenhouse gas emissions overall by nearly 20 percent.
Last week, our harbor commissions took this work even further by approving the first CAAP update in seven years: it includes measures that will help us reduce greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050 and keep us on the path we set this summer for the ports to reach a goal of 100 percent zero emission drayage trucks by 2035; strategies to transition terminal equipment to zero emissions by 2030; and new incentives to help lower emissions by slowing ships down, and encouraging clean retrofits.
The CAAP also includes a new truck appointment system, to be in place by 2020, that will reduce truck wait times, so that the industry can be as efficient and profitable as possible.
And the ports will advocate together for the use of other possible funding sources — the Volkswagen settlement fund, the state’s Cap and Trade program, and other state and federal grants — to help the industry attain the goals of the CAAP Update.
The CAAP has helped deliver extraordinary progress over these last 11 years — but the truth is that our work has just begun. Realizing the goals in the new plan update will demand courage, compromise and bold leadership from our cities, the industry and everyone with a stake in a more sustainable future at our ports.
The road may be long, but we cannot afford to lose sight of our responsibility to shape a healthier future for our children and grandchildren. Let’s draw inspiration from the spirit of collaboration — between residents, industry stakeholders, environmental advocates, labor leaders, and elected officials — that has brought us this far, and work even harder to make more progress together in the months and years to come.
Eric Garcetti is the mayor of Los Angeles. Robert Garcia is the mayor of Long Beach.