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Terminal operators at ports of L.A. and Long Beach agree to cut diesel emissions

Seven terminal operators at the ports will undertake cleanup projects under a settlement reached with California Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris.

August 16, 2011|By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times

Terminal operators at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that were alleged to be in violation of diesel emission standards will be undertaking cleanup projects estimated to cost $1 million apiece under a settlement reached with California's attorney general.

The seven companies will also have to pay other costs, and let the public know — through advertisements in newspapers, at bus stops and online — of the dangers of diesel exhaust.

The terminal operators move imports and exports through the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which together make up the world's sixth busiest harbor. San Pedro Harbor is Southern California's single biggest source of air pollution.

"This settlement will speed the requirements for port terminals to reduce diesel emissions," Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris said. "This is vitally important because expanding port traffic leads nearby residents to be exposed to polluted air, and increased risk of cancer and other diseases."

Harris said in a statement that the projects the operators will undertake include pilot projects to test solar electric panels that withstand the saltwater environment, and a crane-mounted system to capture exhaust from the smokestacks of idling vessels.

The agreement also requires that the terminals make combined payments totaling $756,000 to the Port of Los Angeles for grants to allow small trucking firms to buy low-emission trucks; $324,000 to the Port of Long Beach for projects for clean-running trucks and locomotives; and $540,000 in civil penalties.

The settlement requires the terminal operators to keep giving the advertised warnings until diesel emissions no longer pose a significant risk to the community.

Named in Harris' statement were APM Terminals Pacific; Eagle Marine Services; International Transportation Service Inc.; SSA Terminal (Long Beach); SSA Terminals, Pacific Maritime Services; Trapac Inc.; West Basin Container Terminal; and Yusen Terminals Inc.

A lawyer representing the seven companies said her clients had no comment on the settlement announcement.

ron.white@latimes.com

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