John Buntin is a GOVERNING staff writer. He covers health care, public safety and urban affairs.E-mail: email@example.com
Some 3,000 ships pull into the Port of Los Angeles every year, generating $1.4 billion in revenues for state and local government and thousands of high-paying jobs for area residents. For neighborhoods surrounding the 7,500-acre port complex, however, this economic activity--diesel-powered tractor-trailers unloading cargo, container ships idling in port--creates some of the most polluted air in the Los Angeles basin.
That is about to change. This spring, the Port of Los Angeles reached an agreement with a coalition of neighborhood and environmental groups to transform the Port of Los Angeles into the nation's first "green" port.
The catalyst was a lawsuit that came on the heels of the port's plan to build two mammoth new wharves. Under the terms of the agreement, which both sides describe as a model for ports nationwide, the Los Angeles port will spend more than $50 million over five years to improve air quality and shield neighboring homes from the two new terminals. A new electrical system, for instance, will allow ships docking at the additional wharves to "plug in" to the port's electrical grid--making the prolonged idling of diesel engines unnecessary.