July 19, 2016 by Eric Kirkendall
Newark, 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In January 2016, PANYNJ rescinded its announced plan to ban older trucks from entering the port starting January 1, 2017 on the grounds that it would cause the port to close.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 But the invisible nuisance is the particulate matter created by burning diesel fuel using outdated technology.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