August 24, 2016
by Eric Kirkendall
Port’s plan will add 800 diesel truck trips through Barrio Logan – per day
SAN DIEGO, August 23, 2016 – The Port of San Diego plans to expand the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, including a tremendous increase in the use of diesel trucks and ships operating dangerously close to Barrio Logan. According to Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), an organization fighting toxic pollution in San Diego and Tijuana, the project’s draft environmental impact report outlines imminent impacts of the plan, while neglecting to address its damaging repercussions on the quality of life caused by increased air pollution and effects of climate change on the neighboring community.
“Within one-half mile of the proposed terminal expansion are parks, schools, neighborhoods and health care facilities that would be impacted by a nearly 600 percent increase in air pollution and the resulting health hazards,” says Diane Takvorian, executive director of EHC. “The Port needs to go back to the drawing board to reduce its plans for expansion and increase its use of zero-emission trucks and electric shore power for ships.”
The expansion plan for the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal proposes to increase cargo throughput to as much as 589 percent of the current volume and could increase greenhouse gas emissions by up to 540 percent of the current level. The draft environmental impact report estimates the expansion will add more than 800 diesel truck trips through Barrio Logan – every day — for a total of close to 982.
In response to the plan, EHC submitted a letter outlining its concerns. The National City-based organization cited increased health risks for cancer and respiratory disease that would result from the added air pollution. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) also submitted a comment letter with similar concerns.
“The long-term operation of diesel vehicles and equipment will have significant impacts in the region, especially given the proximity to residences,” says Heather Arias, freight transport branch chief at the California Air Resources Board. “Although the draft environmental impact report includes some features that begin to mitigate the air quality and health impacts from the proposed project, as recommended in our NOP comment letter, and given the health and air quality impacts, ARB suggests further incorporating more zero and near zero technologies that are commercially available now and by full build-out in 2035.”
Barrio Logan residents have lived alongside the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal for decades and remain a community with one of the highest rates of children’s asthma hospitalizations in San Diego County. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency and its cumulative impacts screening tool, CalEnviroScreen, Barrio Logan is among the worst five percent of neighborhoods suffering from cumulative pollution burden in California.
“The Port has an opportunity and a responsibility to bring freight practices to our communities that won’t harm our families, won’t pollute our air and won’t destroy our future,” says Takvorian. “We urge the Port to revamp this plan into a model of sustainability and environmental leadership. By working together with the community, both economic growth and healthy communities are possible.”
To learn more about the harmful impacts of toxic pollution in the San Diego/Tijuana region, please visit http://www.environmentalhealth.org.
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH COALITION: Founded in 1980, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) builds grassroots campaigns to confront the unjust consequences of toxic pollution, discriminatory land use and unsustainable energy policies. Visit us online at http://www.environmentalhealth.org.
August 15, 2016
by Eric Kirkendall
The Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), located in the Barrio Logan community of San Diego, fights for social and environmental justice, and against environmental racism, “policies and activities of governments, corporations, educational institutions or other large organizations with the power to influence many people that, either intentionally or unintentionally, result in people of color and/or low-income people being exposed to greater environmental hazards.” This work includes several focus areas, including Toxic Free Neighborhoods and Climate Justice.
To ensure the communities they serve have a voice in State of California climate change plans, the EHC recently hosted a climate change workshop for the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and the California Air Resources Board. The meeting attracted over a hundred people who talked about air pollution from the many industries located in their neighborhoods, the impact of climate change, and other topics, and provided ideas and recommendations for the draft update of the CARB Scoping Plan, which defines how California will reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020.
While welcoming the state’s intent to reduce greenhouse gases, Leticia Ayala, EHC Associate Director of the Healthy Kids Campaign noted that “there seems to be a tremendous disconnect between our state’s goals for addressing climate change and local projects that move us further from those goals, such as freeway expansions before investments in better public transit”, and emphasized that “Climate change is a global crisis, and our communities have great ideas and proposed solutions. Now, we need the resources to make things happen.”