Motorcade & March to Demand the Port Authority of NY&NJ Ensure Clean Air & Good Jobs Now

 Our lungs are not for sale (Spanish) Port Coalition Newark July 2016Newark, NJ–Yesterday, City of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka joined Coalition for Healthy Ports (CHP) members Kim Gaddy of Clean Water Action and Melissa Miles of Ironbound Community Corporation for a press conference on the steps of City Hall and a motorcade rally at the Port Authority of NY&NJ (PANYNJ) to demand clean air and good jobs now.

Clean Water Action, the Ironbound Community Corporation, and the Coalition for Healthy Ports are members of the  Moving Forward Network.

They were joined by Municipal Council President Mildred C. Crump, Union leaders, Clergy, environmentalists and community activists to press for the end to discriminatory port hiring practices and the Port Authority to reinstate its scheduled ban on trucks with pre-2007 engines (similar to a ban at the nation’s largest port complex in Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA).

In January 2016, PANYNJ rescinded its announced plan to ban older trucks from entering the port starting January 1, 2017 on the grounds that it would cause the port to close. CHP and its allies have noted that NYNJ shippers and trucking companies would conform to the new rule as they did 10 years ago on the West Coast when they understood that the port authority out there would not back down. Lower and near-zero emission truck technologies have been proven effective, are readily available and in use wherever required by port governing bodies. There is no excuse for the PANYNJ’s reneging on its prior commitments to significantly clean the air and improve public health conditions in the NYNJ port region.

“Newark’s residents bear the brunt of the deadly diesel pollution that keeps the billions of dollars of goods pumping through the ports in our backyard. It’s time that our residents see the benefits of a clean and healthy port that employs local residents and operates with zero emissions,” stated Kim Gaddy, South Ward resident and Environmental Justice Organizer for Clean Water Action.

“On a normal day in the East and South Wards in Newark, we see and hear hundreds of trains and planes, and thousands of trucks. But the invisible nuisance is the particulate matter created by burning diesel fuel using outdated technology. It’s slowly killing us. We want the Port Authority to divest from fossil fuels and invest in our community now in the form of good jobs for Newarkers, correct classification for truckers and benefits for our community,” stated Melissa Miles, Environmental Justice Organizer, Ironbound Community Corporation.

Source: Press release from Clean Water Action NJ

 

Newark Mayor joins residents telling the Port Authority to stop damaging our health

 The Ports of New York and New Jersey have long been known as the dirtiest in the country, and the Port Authority as a spectacularly uncaring and unresponsive organization.

As a result, residents of Newark and other cities around the ports have been subjected to extremely dangerous levels of diesel exhaust pollution, and the health effects that come with it.  Asthma levels are shamefully high, and residents are subjected to the myriad other health risks of diesel exhaust, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease, impaired lung function, dementia, brain damage, mental illness, pre-term birth, and much more.

After years of work by the Ironbound Community Corporation, Clean Water Action NJ, the Coalition for Healthy Ports, the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance and many academic experts, including Dr. Ana Baptista, professor at the New School, the tide is turning.

In the few months, the Village Voice and other news publications have highlighted the health issues and environmental injustice of this assault on residents’ health.  Political leaders, including U.S New Jersey Senator Cory Booker have called for the U.S. EPA to take action.  Most recently, the mayor of Newark, Ras Baraka, has ramped up the pressure, and used his formidable leadership skills to force the Port Authority to become a good neighbor and responsible organization.  

For more information, check out this excellent Village Voice article, or some of the background references below. 

 

After a Voice Investigation, Newark Is Looking to Make the Port Authority Pay, Village Voice

Background 

Hell on Wheels: Port Authority’s Broken Promise Is Choking Newark’s Kids, Village Voice 

How the NY/NJ Port Authority Misspent Millions in Federal Money Meant to Cut Air Pollution, Blog post and podcast ProPublica 

Ports are the new power plants — at least in terms of pollution, Washington Post 

Newark kids choking on Port Authority’s diesel exhaust, Editorial, NJ.Com 

Ironbound Residents Want Truck Emissions Reduced, YouTube Video, NJTV News 

Why Did Port Authority Scale Back Its Truck Emissions Program?, New York Public Radio