For all of the talk about the Clean Truck Rate and what it could mean to help our communities with cleaner air, no one has spent much time focusing on just who will pay the fee. The answer is cargo owners who move goods through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
They’re household names — Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target.
And so far, cargo owners have opposed the fee.
In a public comment letter submitted to the Port of Long Beach in January, Target, the country’s eighth largest retailer, argued that literally any fee would be “substantial” and the proposed $10 fee is “unfairly punitive.” The company argued that there are not many near-zero emission vehicle options and that that’s why it is unfair to the company.
What about what is unfair to families living in Southern California?
Southern California has improved its air quality but we still have a long way to go. In 2019, the region set a new record for how many days it violated federal smog standards. And one of the key reasons is diesel particulate matter (DPM) pollution from the diesel trucks in goods movement and trade sector.
Living near the ports and freeways puts our families at elevated risks for asthma, lung disease and cancer. As public entities, the ports have a duty to protect the public — not just the commercial interests. And if major corporations are to live up to their commitments as good corporate citizens, then they need to do their part to clean the air, as well.
In its comment letter, Target argued there is “little need of such an urgent roll out of this fee” given the limited availability of clean trucks. No need for urgency? Cargo owners have known since at the least the last CAAP update in 2017 that there would be a Clean Truck Rate in 2020.
According to IQ Air: “While the Coronavirus is dominating international headlines, a silent killer is contributing to nearly 7 million more deaths a year: air pollution.”
Approving a $50 Clean Truck Rate is the quickest and most efficient way to clean the air in Southern California. A fee that motivates cargo owners to move to cleaner trucks has the power to dramatically improve health outcomes for children living in our region. And companies like Target should get on board.
CALL TO ACTION:
Call L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and tell him to support a $50 Clean Truck Rate
PHONE: (213) 978-0600
EMAIL: Ana.Guerrero@lacity.org, Chief of Staff, Mayor Garcetti
Call Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and tell him to support a $50 Clean Truck Rate
PHONE: (562) 570-6801
EMAIL: Diana.Tang@longbeach.gov, Chief of Staff, Mayor Garcia