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Cleaning Up the Air at CA’s Ports

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 By Lori Abbott/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - CA, Contact
April 17, 2008

Sacramento, CA - California is home to three of the nation's busiest ports, so it's probably no surprise that those ports and surrounding communities have some of the worst air pollution. In fact, the California Air Resources Board estimates that 2,400 people in the state die prematurely each year because of pollution from port operations.

David Allgood with the California League of Conservation Voters says state Senate Bill 974 would improve air quality and reduce health-related problems by upgrading trucks and easing congestion.

"The proposed improvements will dramatically lower the pollution load and transit impacts associated with the movement of goods. By lowering the pollution impacts, we'll be saving lives throughout California."

By the year 2020, freight transport operations are expected to produce more diesel particulate matter than all passenger vehicles, off-road equipment and stationary sources combined. Allgood says that's why the legislation is needed now.

"By reducing the pollution load, it's going to reduce the enormous health-related costs of making people sick, but it will also go a long way toward repairing and improving the infrastructure that allows these goods to move efficiently."

If the bill is approved, each container entering the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland would be charged a $30 fee.

Opponents of the measure claim the fee would violate the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, and say it would increase the costs of importing and exporting.

More information can be found at www.ecovote.org and
www.sen.ca.gov.

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