TraPac EIR - why it's so important
Note: the deadline for written comments has been extended to Sept. 26, 2007.
You can read the TraPac EIR press release here..
You can view a sample comment letter here ... or download a Word version
"Expansion plan a first step toward green Port Environmental groups," Long Beach Press Telegram
Growth is inevitable and we need to effectively manage the expected container volume.
- The Port of Long Beach ("POLB") and the Port of Los Angeles ("POLA") are potentially facing a major capacity crisis and intermodal demand will exceed capacity by as early as 2010. And this assumes only modest growth of 6.4%. In their May forecast, LAEDC predicted that the ports will grow 9.2% this year to 17.2 million TEUs. (The ports predicted a 6.4% increase to 16.8 million TEUs.)
- "The ports handled 210.4 million tons of cargo last year, or 58.3% of the west coast total. To put it in perspective, just last year's increase over the previous year was more tonnage than the total tonnage processed by the Port of Portland." LAEDC May 2007
- Indeed, congestion is already posing a problem for shippers and terminal operators. APL recently reported that its "customers were able to take advantage of alternative gateways, avoiding the pressured Southern California ports, with APL offering increased capacity via Seattle and Oakland and all-water services to the United States East Coast." Similarly, OOIL recently stated that "the potential for congestion on the North American west coast...is once again becoming a concern." A capacity shortfall also will mean fewer jobs. The ports are responsible for over half-a-million jobs in Southern California. The Southern California Association of Governments predicts that an additional 1.3 million or more, direct and indirect jobs could be created if the ports build the infrastructure to accommodate growth.
- People who tout diversion of traffic from Los Angeles/Long Beach have to recognize that most if not all U.S. ports are struggling with capacity issues. LAEDC May 2007
- If the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach do not prepare for this very realistic possibility, they will put themselves, their cities and their communities at significant risk of an economic, goods movement and environmental disaster. If containers cannot move on trains, they will move on a truck, which means more traffic congestion and more pollution.
- The ports can lessen this risk by encouraging green growth projects.
Re-development of the TraPac terminal is an effective way to efficiently manage the expected growth in container volume and to mitigate environmental impact.
- Even without any changes in the current facility the container cargo volume at the TraPac terminal is expected to nearly double without any of the environmental benefits of redeveloping the site.
- Terminal efficiency will significantly increase from 5,068 TEUs/acre to 9,831 TEUs/acre by making use of several new features including: fewer, more efficient gantry cranes; new truck gates to decrease surface street congestion; improving Harry Bridges Blvd. and providing truck turn-outs and pockets; creating a new On-Dock Railyard; maximizing gate time especially during off-peak hours; implementing a computerized container tracking and an appointment-based truck delivery and pick-up system.
The San Pedro Bay Ports are the major economic engine for Southern California and provide high quality jobs to the area.
- The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach provide the 2nd largest source of jobs in the greater five county region (≈500,000 jobs). Approximately 1 million jobs statewide and more than 3.3 million jobs nationwide are connected to the movement of imported and exported goods through the two L.A. County ports.
- Port jobs represent $22.7 billion in regional wages and $7 billion in state and local taxes.
- "With thousands of freight-filled containers hoisted on and off ships each day, the L.A. Port is vital to the region. The $52 billion it injects into the economy each year dwarfs the $34-billion entertainment industry." Los Angeles Times, 1/15/06
- "One out of 12 jobs in the Los Angeles area are related somehow to goods movement," [Hasan] Ikhrata [director of planning and policy at the Southern California Association of Governments] said, "with the average wage about $45,300. And with 26 million people in the region, it's inevitable that product manufacturers will continue to ship goods into the area. The responsible thing is to prepare for growth, not ignore it," Ikhrata said. Press-Telegram, 1/31/06
- This year, total value of two-way trade handled by the Los Angeles Customs District will increase by 13.3% to $373.4 billion. LAEDC May 2007
No growth means MORE not less pollution for San Pedro Bay Communities
- The TraPac EIR shows that by 2015 the proposed project will reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses and criteria pollutants to below baseline levels. Certain mitigations can only be provided with a site redesign:
- 100% of ships berthing at TraPac will use Alternative Marine Power by 2018 but major infrastructure improvements will be needed.
- Up to 30% of container cargo will be loaded directly on to trains by way of an on-dock rail facility which will utilize USEPA Tier 2 and/or better locomotives.
- Reduced truck congestion and idling from improved traffic flow by adding a new main truck gate, improving traffic flow on Harry Bridges Blvd. and installing truck turn outs and pockets.
- Creating a grade separation in the northeastern corner of the terminal to resolve current roadway delays caused by train movement.
- The proposed project will provide a 30-acre landscaped buffer zone separating the community from port operations and will provide much needed green space to community members with open space for recreation and enjoyment. Previous community comments recorded during the scoping process show a clear demand for public open space.
- The proposed project illustrates the "green growth" strategy outlined in the CAAP and significantly reduces health risk to local communities through several stellar environmental features including:
- On-dock rail with a commitment to use Tier 2 and above locomotives;
- Building a new LEED Gold certified administration building;
- Creating a buffer strip to separate communities from port operations;
- Fewer, more efficient gantry cranes;
- 100% AMP for ships by 2018;
- 100% use of low-sulfur (.02% or less sulfur content) in all ship engines by 2015;
- 100% of yard equipment less than 750-hp will meet USEPA Tier 4 standards;
- 100% of on-road trucks serving the facility will meet 2007 MY emissions standards by 2012;
- All new vessel builds will include NOx and PM controls; and
- Implement measures and systems to reduce truck congestions and idling time.
The Los Angeles business community applauds the Port of Los Angeles for seeking out the maximum public input in this environmental review process. We encourage the Port of Los Angeles as the lead agency to continue working with industry and community stake-holders.