Gino DiCaro

Gov. Urged to Veto Air Emissions Restrictions at L.A & L.B. Ports

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, Sept. 3, 2004

AB 2042 (Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach) restricts air emissions at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to a 2004 baseline by 2006. This restriction imposes severe growth and operations limitations at the ports and adversely affects California's participation in world markets, ultimately impacting the recovery and growth of California's economy.

The bill ignores international treaties governing the regulation of ships through the International Maritime Organization and conflicts with federal law by placing air emission oversight authority with the South Coast Air Quality Management District – an area that should be left to federal or state agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and/or the California Air Resources Board. It also establishes a dangerous precedent allowing local governments or municipalities to unilaterally establish air standards and regulate mobile sources. This could result in a "patchwork quilt" of air standards throughout the state.

AB 2042 will divert trade to outlying ports, other states or possibly even other countries, thereby exacerbating Southern California's congestion and air quality problems as goods are shipped into the South Coast basin by less efficient means. The result could be a net emissions increase in the South Coast basin. The bill also encourages litigation against local and state governments by organizations that desire to limit growth at the ports.

The bill recommends a "Memorandum of Understanding" between parties yet sabotages any prospect of success in achieving this goal by establishing date specific baselines and limits on emissions, eliminating any incentive for the parties, except the ports, to reach consensus.

Ports do not create growth. They respond to it and service it. International trade has been one of the few bright spots in our economy. While this bill attempts to solve a local problem, it will have the unintended consequences of causing price increases for California consumers and businesses. California can not afford to limit the ability of its economy to grow.
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