Friday, April 5, 2013

Long Beach City, Port Appeal SCIG Project

A conflict between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach over a proposed BNSF rail yard is continuing to grow.

The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners this week voted to support a City of Long Beach appeal of the Southern California International Gateway rail yard project that was approved March 7 by the Port of Los Angeles.

The City of Long Beach has appealed the Port of Los Angeles’ approval of the project to the Los Angeles City Council, which is expected to vote on the project in the coming weeks. Long Beach officials have opposed the project as it stands, saying it doesn’t sufficiently reduce the impact on western Long Beach.

The 153-acre SCIG facility proposed by BNSF Railway Co. sits just outside West Long Beach, alongside the Terminal Island Freeway on land owned by the Port of LA. The project, if built, would serve on-dock rail facilities at both the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles.

Long Beach officials, however, say much of its impact would negatively affect nearby Long Beach residents, businesses and schools.

Local residents and environmental activists on the Long Beach side have claimed the facility would bring more noise and air pollution to an area that has already suffered from plenty of both over the years due to port-related activities.

“Everyone can do better on this project than has been done so far,” Long Beach Harbor Commission President Susan Anderson Wise said.

At an April 1 board meeting, Wise, along with commissioners Rich Dines, Nick Sramek and Doug Drummond, voted to direct port staff to work with the City of Long Beach to help find solutions for the issues the city raised against the project.

Commissioner Thomas Fields recused himself because of a possible conflict of interest related to his investments.

BNSF and the Port of LA say if the project’s constructed, it would reduce truck traffic, freeway congestion and air pollution by eliminating about 1.3 million truck trips annually along a 24-mile stretch of the Long Beach (710) Freeway to BNSF’s Hobart Yard near downtown LA.

Construction, which is scheduled to begin later this year, could create an estimated 1,500 direct and indirect jobs per year over three years, according to BNSF. The rail yard’s expected to generate up to 1,096 long-term jobs at full capacity when it opens in 2016.

The City of Long Beach’s appeal of the project is on behalf of the entire city, including its Harbor Department, which is the Port of Long Beach. However, harbor commissioners said they felt it was important to go on the record with their support of the appeal and to call for solutions.

“LA needs to treat Long Beach like a neighbor, not just dump the project over here without mitigation and changes,” Commissioner Sramek said.

Seattle Port Seeks Environmental Award Nominations

Nominations are being accepted for the 2013 Marine Environmental Business of the Year awards, presented by the Port of Seattle and the Seattle Propeller Club. The port and Propeller Club companies committed to innovative and effective environmental initiatives that support efforts to become a greener and most energy efficient port are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is April 19, with winners set to be announced at the Seattle Maritime Festival Luncheon Thurs., May 16, 2013.

Two awards will be presented:
  • Comprehensive Environmental Management Plan – Designed to showcase a wide-ranging, all-inclusive environmental program that is part of the company culture and goes beyond state and federal mandates, and;
  • Environmental Initiative – Designed to showcase a specific initiative, process and/or project. The project does not have to be completed to be considered in this category.

Companies eligible to apply must have maritime-related operations in Seattle. Nominated projects must take place in the Puget Sound region.

A committee comprised of industry, community and regulatory representatives will review applications and select the award recipients. Applications are to be rated based on nominees’ sustainable practices, innovation, leadership, commitment, air & water pollution prevention and regulatory compliance.

Additionally, applications will be considered based on successful efforts to incorporate environmentally sustainable practices into overall maritime/industrial operations or a specific project or initiative, as applicable; innovation, leadership and/or commitment toward environmental stewardship, especially air and water pollution prevention, with a particular emphasis on benefits to the Puget Sound environment.

Applicants must describe the environmental practices and results achieved in their application form.

Electronic copies of the form are available at and can be emailed to Companies may submit more than one application; however a $50 fee per application applies. Checks must be payable to Seattle Maritime Festival and mailed to: Seattle Propeller Club, Attn: Environmental Award, 100 West Harrison Street, Suite S-560, Seattle, WA 98119.

All applications, supporting material and fees must be received by 5 p.m., Fri., April 19, 2013.

Award recipients will be announced at the 2013 Seattle Maritime Festival Luncheon on Thurs., May 16 aboard the Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess at Pier 66. For more information about the luncheon, visit or contact Polly Kirkpatrick at the Marine Exchange of Puget Sound, (206) 443-3830 or

POLA Completes 10-Year Channel Dredging Project

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, along with elected officials and leaders from the Port of Los Angeles and the US Army Corps of Engineers, marked the completion of a 10-year, $370 million project to deepen the port’s main channel on April 3.

“Completion of this project means that the port will remain competitive globally, and continue to be a strong source for jobs and regional revenue growth for years to come,” Villaraigosa said.

The deepening, which was conducted by the Corps on the port’s behalf, is being touted as a major milestone in the port’s ongoing efforts to assure its continued competitiveness and growth, since it allows LA to continue to accommodate bigger, more modern vessels from around the world.

“Our increased competiveness will strengthen our regional and national economies – resulting in job creation in my district and across the country,” Congresswoman Janice Hahn said during a ceremony held on the rear deck of the USS Iowa floating museum to mark the event.

The project involved deepening of LA’s 45-foot deep Main Channel, West Basin Channel and East Basin Channel to a 53-foot depth. During the course of the decade-long effort, the Corps generated and relocated 15 million cubic yards of dredge materials to various sites throughout the port, some of which was used to construct the 104-acre acre Cabrillo Shallow Water Habitat, providing a replacement habitat and feeding area for fish and marine birds in the outer harbor.

“The number of ships and the volume of goods they will bring, the number of jobs that will result and the economic impact on the local area and throughout the nation are important numbers,” Col. Mark Toy, commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, said. “But the true worth of the project is the benefits it will provide for people. Directly or indirectly, locally or nationwide, immediately or in the future, the work we recognize today will benefit the lives of many people.”