Two members of Congress from Southern California are urging the City of Los Angeles and BNSF Railway to take further steps to mitigate the environmental effects of a planned intermodal container transfer facility to protect the health of Long Beach residents who live close by.
The Southern California International Gateway is planned for construction on property owned by the Port of Los Angeles a few miles from the marine terminals. It is designed to shorten the drive for truckers hauling containers to intermodal yards about 20 miles away in downtown Los Angeles, thereby reducing local road congestion and diesel emissions and making cargo transfers to rail more efficient. The SCIG would also handle cargo moving through the adjacent Port of Long Beach.
The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners last month approved the SCIG project and sent it to the Los Angeles City Council for final approval. But Long Beach officials claim not enough has been done to ensure the Long Beach communities that sit near the brownfield site are protected from noise and harmful diesel emissions produced by trucks that will serve the SCIG
Reps. Janice Hahn, who represents the 44th district, and Alan Lowenthal from the 47th district, wrote an op-ed in the local Daily Breeze
expressing support for the project and its potential to enhance economic growth
, "but not at the expense of the health of our communities."
They asked Los Angeles city officials to include "reasonable mitigation provisions" in any agreement with BNSF.
"There are some common sense measures these communities deserve such as a planted buffer-zone between the project and surrounding communities; the creation of a fund to help residents install pollution reducing filters and other devices; a long-term commitment to incorporate zero-emission technology at the rail yard; and, relocation for businesses that are displaced," they wrote.
Hahn raised the issue of environmental standards coexisting with port development
during a hearing last week in Washington about a new national freight policy. - Eric Kulisch