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Barragán Introduces Climate Smart Ports Act to Improve Air Quality and Create Good Jobs in Port Communities Across America

By May 27, 2020 No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      

May 27, 2020

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán introduced a bill to create the first federal program dedicated to greening our nation’s ports and reducing the toxic pollution that severely harms the health of people in port communities. The Climate Smart Ports Act would invest in zero-emissions technology and infrastructure, protect dockworkers, fight climate change, address a source of environmental injustice, and create good-paying green jobs.

“In many ways, the Port of Los Angeles is the heartbeat of my district,” said Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán. “Ports are job creators, but also major sources of air pollution with serious public health consequences, particularly for the communities of color that tend to live nearby. The people in these neighborhoods live close to working diesel trucks, ships, trains, and cargo-handling equipment spewing poisons into our air and water. And we’ve paid the price. By greening our ports, we can tackle this environmental injustice.”

The Climate Smart Ports Act would create a $1 billion-a-year zero-emissions ports infrastructure program to assist ports and port users with the following:

  • Replacing diesel-burning cargo handling equipment, port harbor craft, drayage trucks, and other equipment with zero emissions equipment and technology;
  • Funding the installation of shore power for docked ships, and electric charging stations for vehicles and cargo equipment;
  • Developing clean energy microgrids onsite at the ports to power their facilities;
  • Authorizing an additional $50 million a year for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, specifically for reducing emissions at ports.
  • Implementing strong labor provisions to protect dockworkers from automation, require a prevailing wage for installation work generated through grants, and encourage the use of union labor and local hiring.

The full bill can be found here and a summary is here.

“We are often given a false choice between a clean environment and a strong economy. With the Climate Smart Ports Act, we don’t have to choose,” Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán said.

Barragán was joined by 21 original cosponsors of the Climate Smart Ports Act, including Congressmembers Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Jared Huffman (Calif.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.), Alan Lowenthal (Calif.), Jamie Raskin (Md.), Ed Case (Hawaii), Adam Smith (Wash.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.), Harley Rouda (Calif.), Stephen Lynch (Mass.), Joseph P. Kennedy (Mass.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Cedric Richmond (La.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.), Chellie Pingree (Maine), Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.), Suzanne Bonamci (Ore.) and Barbara Lee (Calif.).

 

The Climate Smart Ports Act is supported by the American Lung Association, Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Moving Forward Network, League of Conservation Voters, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Food & Water Action, Greenpeace, Eastyard Communities for Environmental Justice, Friends of the Earth, Jobs to Move America CA, Green For All, San Pedro Indivisible, and the San Pedro & Peninsula Homeowners Association.

Below are quotes from some of the many environmental and social justice organizations supporting the Climate Smart Ports Act.

 

“Port communities bear a disproportionate burden on their health from air pollution exposure due to the constant activity from ships, trucks and cargo equipment. Everyone should have the opportunity to breathe healthy air that doesn’t make them sick, regardless of where they live, work or play. Transitioning to zero-emissions technology will have direct health benefits for the millions of Americans living near the nation’s ports and freight hubs. The American Lung Association supports the Climate Smart Ports Act and the requirement that a portion of the grant funding goes directly to those communities most affected by dangerous air pollution,” said Harold Wimmer, CEO of the American Lung Association.

 

“Representative Barragán has a solution that will save lives and move American ports into the 21st Century, setting an example for the world. Ending the massive diesel and fossil fuel pollution from ports by switching to electric power for trucks, yard equipment and ships at dock IS the future. This bill will reduce the disease, chronic illness and death that is directly linked by science to fossil fuel pollution from the goods movement industry,” said Peter M. Warren, Indivisible San Pedro.

 

“Over a hundred million Americans, many of them people of color and low-income residents, live within a few miles of a port and breathe the dirty diesel pollution these facilities pump into our air. But it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Adrian Martinez, staff attorney on Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign. “The Climate Smart Ports Act will put people back to work at high-paying jobs that deliver clean air to everybody. We need that now more than ever, as we’ve lost 600,000 clean energy jobs in the last two months alone. Earthjustice thanks Rep. Barragan and her colleagues for working to strengthen our health and our economy by electrifying our ports.”

 

“The Moving Forward Network supports the Climate Smart Ports Act and its aims to advance environmental justice and climate justice. MFN looks forward to working with Congresswoman Barragán to advance this critical bill, which will, if passed, improve port communities’ health from coast to coast,” said Angelo Logan, campaign director, Moving Forward Network.

 

“Not only is the Climate Smart Ports Act an innovative, important step in helping to tackle the climate crisis, it would also begin the critical task of addressing decades of environmental injustices that have exposed communities living near ports, often low-income communities and communities of color, to toxic air pollution that has jeopardized their health,” said Madeleine Foote, deputy legislative director, League of Conservation Voters. “This is exactly the kind of legislation that Congress should be passing now to create good, family-sustaining jobs, protect public health, and achieve the post-pandemic clean energy future we need.  We are grateful to Congresswoman Barragán and the cosponsors of this bill for their leadership and look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that nobody is forced to live in a ‘Diesel Death Zone.”

 

“Electrifying ports across the nation is a vital step towards reducing climate-damaging pollution and protecting the health of frontline communities. These vital transportation and shipping facilities are concentrated sources of diesel emissions, with nearly half of ports located in areas that don’t pass air quality standards, and studies have shown that air pollution contributes to higher rates of asthma, cancer, and respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. The Sierra Club is proud to support Representative Barragan’s critical legislation.” said Matt Bearzotti, deputy legislative director, Sierra Club

 

“At a time when our country and economy will need to quickly bounce back from an economic recession, we cannot afford to miss opportunities to invest in reducing pollution while growing the availability of green employment opportunities for communities who need to work. Now is the time for us to harness the power of public investment to create the most public good through cleaner air and good jobs for disproportionately impacted communities in California and across the United States. Jobs to Move America commends Representative Barragan on this initiative and her commitment to ensuring good jobs and clean air go hand in hand,” said Abhilasha Bhola, California senior policy coordinator, Jobs to Move America.

 

“In far too many communities, families breathe polluted air from fossil fuels that lead to serious health problems. We must reduce air pollution by advancing zero-emissions technologies in a manner that advances equity and justice. Our health and climate depend on it. By focusing on addressing climate pollution from our nation’s ports and related air-quality impacts, the Climate Smart Ports Act is an important addition to the discussion about creating a clean economy that works for all,” said Marc Boom, director of federal affairs, Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

“Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán’s Climate Smart Ports Act will make bold investments to clean up and revitalize critical port infrastructure. By moving toward zero emission ports, this bill will reduce air pollution and mitigate the health disparities that exist in America’s port communities, like San Pedro by the Port of Los Angeles, while accelerating job growth. As our country looks to rebuild better, we need elected leaders to propose solutions like this that will guide us towards a healthier, stronger and safer future,” said Elizabeth Gore, senior vice president of political affairs, Environmental Defense Fund.

“The Climate Smart Ports Act makes critical investments that will make us stronger by creating good-paying jobs, reducing harmful air pollution, and cutting greenhouse gas emissions at our nation’s ports. We applaud the leadership of Representative Barragan on this issue and look forward to working with her to build a clean energy future that benefits everyone,” said Mitch Jones, policy director, Food & Water Action.

 

“Emission reduction efforts at ports differ drastically in the U.S. and are often insufficient. It is time for the goods movement industry to embrace 21st century technologies that will improve the health and lives of those living near ports. The CSPA’s $10 billion in green infrastructure funding will help the industry shed its dependence on dirty diesel and move toward a cleaner future,” said John Kaltenstein, deputy director, Oceans & Vessels, Friends of the Earth.

 

“Thank you to Congresswoman Barragán for listening to your constituents that have been fighting for zero-emissions for years. This monumental piece of legislation is exactly the type of measure elected representatives must take in order to move us to a zero-emissions future powered by clean, renewable energy,” said Taylor Thomas, policy analyst, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice

 

“This legislation prioritizes both the health and the wealth of communities hardest by transportation pollution. The Climate Smart Ports Act shows us that we can work together to solve poverty and pollution at the same time. It also provides a critical upgrade to some of the nation’s most important infrastructure, moving it into the 21st century. We are especially appreciative of the provisions that ensure formerly incarcerated jobseekers have access to the jobs created by these investments. We applaud Rep. Barragán’s leadership for championing this legislation, which will combat environmental injustice, fight climate change, create green jobs, and protect workers,” said Michelle Romero, national director, Green for All, a program of Dream Corps.

 

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Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.