A local environmental advocacy group is expressing its displeasure with a plan put forth by the Port of San Diego to expand operations at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
The port says modernization of the facility will allow for increased imports of fresh foods, military cargo, and construction materials. The Environmental Health Coalition, however, argues that this increased capacity will send another 800 diesel-powered semis barreling through Barrio Logan each day. The neighborhood is already one of San Diego's hardest hit communities in terms of air pollution.
"Within one-half mile of the proposed terminal expansion are parks, schools, neighborhoods, and healthcare facilities that would be impacted by a nearly 600 percent increase in air pollution and the resulting health hazards," coalition executive director Diane Takvorian said in an August 23 release. "The Port needs to go back to the drawing board to reduce its plans for expansion and increase its use of zero-emission trucks and electric shorepower for ships."
The port has taken steps to encourage pollution reduction such as providing funding for ship-to-shore electrical power supplies (to prevent ships from needing to idle their diesel engines while docked) and for retrofits of trucks with emission-reducing particulate filters. Still, the coalition appears to have state regulators on their side.
"Although the draft environmental impact report includes some features that begin to mitigate the air quality and health impacts from the proposed project, as recommended in our NOP comment letter, and given the health and air quality impacts, [California Air Resources Board] suggests further incorporating more zero and near zero technologies that are commercially available now and by full build-out in 2035," said Heather Arias, freight transport branch chief at the California Air Resources Board and quoted in the coalition release.
Public comment on the port's draft environmental impact report ended August 18. Those comments are now under review before further action is taken.