Commentary: laying down the port law: the Port of Long Beach sets ambitious--and strict--green standards (2nd in a 2-Part Series).

Author:Schechter, Mara

On Sunday, October 4, the Port of Long Beach is letting visitors and local families in on all its green efforts, with its Green Port Fest. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the seaport is giving away bus passes (to support public transportation) and offering free harbor cruises (it has 35 miles of waterfront) and letting visitors get an insider/s look at the cargo shipping operations via a train ride. What's so impressive about Long Beach's Port? It's environmental commitment is setting the bar for ports across the globe.

In 2005, the Port of Long Beach (POLB) adopted its Green Port Policy, which establishes guiding principles for the Port that puts the environment first. "We made the Green Port Policy the center of our operations," says Bob Kanter, the Manager of Environmental Affairs and Planning, who adds that environmental surveys are the first step in any infrastructure updates at the port. "The Green Port Policy makes [sustainability and environmental concerns] integrated and accountable."


One of their boldest new policies is the Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), which was adopted in 2006 by the POLB and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) in conjunction with local, state, and federal agencies in an effort to reduce the area's air pollution by 45% by 2012. As part of the CAAP, they are implementing a Clean Trucks Program, which will cost $2 billion and should reduce the area's air pollution by 80% by 2012. Most of the $2 billion will be generated by a cargo fee and will go to retrofits and truck replacements.

No Old Trucks

Starting on October 1, 2008, no trucks built before 1989 will be allowed to drive onto the Port's terminals. On January 1, 2012, this policy will get a lot stricter: only trucks that meet 2007 federal emission standards (which apply only to new trucks) will be allowed to drive in the Port. This has "never been done in the world before," says Art Wong, the Port's Public Information Officer. He realizes that incredible challenges will come with having "17,000 trucks replaced in 5 years and [having to] still keep goods moving and make sure people [like drivers] can make a living." Mario Cordero, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, has said that, "This is the most ambitious, far-reaching clean-air plan ever undertaken by any seaport."

How can they do this? Well, the truckers are coming onto their property. "We don't have authority to tell ships or trucks that they have to be clean, but it's our property, and we have the right to determine the safety of trucks," says Art Wong. Adds Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, this is in line with the "proprietary standard," in which "you can regulate who comes on your property." A...

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