Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SoCal Port Terminals Settle Pollution Warning Suit by State AG

California state Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on Monday announced a settlement with seven terminal operators at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles requiring the completion of $7 million in diesel pollution-reduction projects and better notification of the public regarding the emissions.

In June, Harris' office filed suit alleging the terminals violated Proposition 65 – the 1986 voter-approved state law requiring warnings of potential exposure to toxic substances – by exposing thousands of port-area residents to high levels of diesel exhaust without providing adequate and required warning.

"This settlement will speed the requirements for port terminals to reduce diesel emissions," Harris said. "This is vitally important because expanding port traffic leads nearby residents to be exposed to polluted air, and increased risk of cancer and other diseases."

In a statement, Harris' office named seven terminals at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles: APM Terminals Pacific, Ltd.; Eagle Marine Services, Ltd.; International Transportation Service, Inc.; SSA Terminal (Long Beach) LLC; SSA Terminals, LLC, Pacific Maritime Services, L.L.C.; Trapac, Inc.; West Basin Container Terminal LLC; and, Yusen Terminals, Inc.

Approved Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the settlement requires the seven terminals to: implement a warning program using newspaper ads, bus shelter signs and the Internet to inform the community about the diesel exposures; undertake projects valued at $1 million per terminal to reduce diesel emissions from their respective operations; and pay monies to the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles for projects to lower diesel emissions from the trucks, tractors and trains that operate at the port.

The $1 million projects to be undertaken at the seven terminals include pilot projects to test solar electric panels that withstand the saltwater environment and a crane mounted system to capture exhaust from idling vessels.

The agreement also requires the terminals to make collective payments of $756,000 to the Port of Los Angeles for grants to allow small trucking firms to buy new, low-emission trucks; $324,000 to the Port of Long Beach for projects for clean running trucks and locomotives; and $540,000 in civil penalties.