Port of Los Angeles violated legal agreement to lower pollution at China Shipping terminal

In the midst of an investigation by the newspaper Random Lengths, the Port of Los Angeles has admitted to not complying with the terms of an agreement they reached to settle a lawsuit filed in 2001 by MFN member National Resources Defense Council on behalf of the Coalition for Clean AirCommunities for a Better Environment, and others.

Under the terms of the settlement, the Port agreed to “fully evaluate and mitigate the impacts of the proposed terminal, and commit to specific steps to address terminal pollution. The Port has agreed to use only cleaner alternative fuel yard trucks instead of diesel vehicles at the site, to enable ships to plug into electric power instead of idling their diesel engines while docked, to quickly develop and implement plans to decrease traffic in the area, and to replace the existing 16-story cranes that block community views of the harbor with shorter, lower-profile cranes.” (Source: City of Los Angeles and Community and Environmental Groups Reach Record Settlement of Challenge to China Shipping Terminal Project at Port (2003)

This week, the Port of LA admitted they had not included those requirements in the China Shipping terminal lease agreement, and failed to require China Shipping to implement several key measures, including slowing ships as they approach the port and use on-shore power and shut down their engines when docked, and to power trucks and yard tractors with natural gas and other low-polluting fuels.

China Shipping is a massive Chinese owned company that operates over 150 container ships. As recently as 2012, the company and senior Chinese government leaders have touted their Port of Los Angeles facility as the first ‘green terminal’ in the world.

It is not clear from press reports whether there will be a deeper investigation to determine who was culpable for this failure, or what the consequences might be. Stay tuned and we’ll share news as it emerges.

Note:  All boxed quotes are from the excellent Los Angeles Times articles below

For more details:

Port of Los Angeles has failed to meet pollution-cutting measures, Los Angeles Times, Oct 14

Port of L.A. terminal met pollution goal despite unfulfilled remedy steps, Los Angeles Times, Oct 15

Port responds to criticisms of its pollution controls, KPCC Public Radio, Oct 15

LA reviewing environmental impact of China Shipping terminal, Journal of Commerce, Oct 15