Friday, November 12, 2010

Oakland Port Commissioner Receives $100K Award For Green Activism

Environmental activist Margaret Gordon, who is also a Port of Oakland commissioner, has been awarded a $100,000 prize from a Bay Area non-profit for her work in fighting industrial pollution in the Oakland area.

The 63-year-old Gordon, who along with others helped spearhead the call for tougher regulations on port-servicing trucks before being appointed to the port commission in 2007, was selected by San Francisco-based Civic Ventures for the group's Purpose Prize from more than 1,400 other nominees. She was one of five nominees to be awarded the top $100,000 Purpose Prize.

The prize honors work done by people over 60 who have made a significant social impact on their communities.

An asthma sufferer, Gordon first got involved in activism when she helped organize a campaign against a local industrial plant. She helped pressure the Bay Area Air Quality District to enforce emission standards on the firm, which preceded the plant's eventual closure.

Gordon rose to prominence as the co-founder of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project in 2005. The group developed local routes for port servicing trucks that avoided residential neighborhoods surrounding the port. The group's efforts also led to air filtration systems being installed in local senior housing.

In 2007, Mayor Ron Dellums appointed Gordon to the Port of Oakland governing board.
Work by her group and others also helped focus a spotlight on the issue of curtailing port-generated truck emissions through port regulation, a move that was already underway in the Southern California ports. Community pressure from Gordon and others led to the adoption of various regulations under the port's Maritime Comprehensive Truck Management Program to quickly address truck emissions. The clean truck component of the program included a drayage truck ban that went into effect Jan. 1, 2010. The ban required all port-servicing trucks after the implementation date to meet California Air Resources Board emission requirements if they wished to keep servicing the port facilities.