It is utterly inconceivable to us that leadership at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach truly believe that for just $10 or $20 a container, we can clean up some of the worst pollution in Southern California.
When the first Clean Truck Rate was implemented more than a decade ago, the fee was $35 a TEU — and it was a success. Compared to 2005, heavy-duty truck emissions have been reduced by 97 percent for Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM), 78 percent for Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), and 92 percent for Sulfur Oxides (SOx).
Now that the ports have another opportunity to impose a rate that will motivate truckers and cargo owners, like Wal-Mart and Amazon, to move to cleaner trucks, leadership is saying they cannot afford to do anything that would threaten to move discretionary cargo to other ports. That is, the ports say they don’t want Chicago’s cargo to be diverted to New York, Savannah or Houston. We believe that is just an excuse.
A draft economic impact report from the two ports found a Clean Truck Rate between $5 and $75 would ultimately reduce the ports’ growth by up to 1.4 percent. Note that cargo volume at the ports would continue to grow, just not quite as fast as if there was no Clean Truck Rate at all. So why is the proposed fee just $10? The ports’ own economic study supports a higher fee.
The ports want to cry foul because they’ve lost marketshare over the past 15 years. What they fail to mention is that in recent years they’ve moved record levels of cargo through the San Pedro Bay Port Complex.
Port leadership claims it tried to balance environmental and business concerns when drafting this proposal however, there is no balance here. The only consideration has been to keep prices low on major corporations while the families living in Long Beach, San Pedro, Wilmington and along the Long Beach (710) Freeway continue to suffer. A more balanced approach would have landed on $50 — enough to motivate change and keep cargo in Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The ports are literally putting a price on the health of our communities. Their proposal says their lives aren’t worth more than 10 bucks a TEU. Yet, just in the last week, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos set a new state record by spending $165 million on a house. Days later he announced plans to spend $10 billion — BILLION — to address climate change.
Are we really supposed to believe Amazon can’t afford $10 to clean the air? The math just doesn’t add up.
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