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Today, the California Air Resources Board chose health!

CARB heard testimony from over 140 people including: residents, advocates, agencies, and industry from up and down California calling for the Advanced Clean Truck Rule to be adopted.

Included below in this post is testimony from EHC in support of this groundbreaking rule as we continue to advance our call for clean air in San Diego!

What was surprising to me personally, is how much others look to our State for leadership, innovation, and guidance in advancing clean vehicle technology and new economies while protecting communities, moving away from fossil fuels causing severe health impacts from structural inequities in communities of color; and reducing greenhouse gasses affecting climate change.

From New York to Washington State support and partnerships continue to grow. We also applaud the AB 617 Portside Steering Committee for providing a statement of support and noting that these measures will assist our local efforts such as trucks serving cargo terminals at the Port of San Diego.

David Flores
Air Quality Campaign Director
Environmental Health Coalition

 

EHC TESTIMONY AT CARB IN FAVOR OF ACT RULE (06-25-2020)

Good morning, I am David Flores of Environmental Health Coalition.

Like many of the groups and individuals here today, EHC works in EJ communities that rank very high on CalEnviroScreen and suffer the health and safety impacts of disproportionate truck traffic. EHC supports this rule in its current form and we urge adoption.

In addition to the AB 617 Portside communities of Barrio Logan and west National City, the San Diego region also includes the border area, with its heavy burden of truck traffic from both sides of the border.

Aclima air sampling in 2019 found black carbon levels that, at the high end, correspond to a cancer risk level of over 2000 per million in the Otay Mesa area.

More recently Aclima week-to-week average values in the Portside and Border Communities during the COVID Stay at home order form March 20th to April 24th present a reduction in black carbon during the first 5 weeks, however, levels increased the last two weeks back to pre-COVID levels.

This does correspond with our information about diesel sources that impact our communities:

  • Port cargo volumes were down only a little, or even up in the case of some imports; the shipyards have continued to operate throughout this period, and there is still truck traffic in the AB 617 Portside community.
  • For the Border area in Otay Mesa and San Ysidro: Cross border commercial traffic is considered essential and has been allowed to continue across the border.
  • SANDAG statistics for Commercial truck crossings in 2019 through the state’s 3 commercial POEs (Otay Mesa, Tecate & Calexico East) broke a new record last year, processing more than 1.4 million northbound trucks.
  • Of that 1.4 Million, approximately 800,000 of those crossings were from the Otay Mesa POE truck crossing. Keep in mind, this does not account for the 2 to 5 hours of idling that these trucks spend cued up at the border waiting to cross.

We are already doing everything we can locally to reduce truck impacts. Working with the City of San Diego, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, and the Port of San Diego, we are:

  • Working with the City to establish and enforce truck routes;
  • Working with the Port to educate truck drivers on the new routes;
  • Working through AB 617 to incentivize cleaner trucks in our communities and land use strategies to create additional solutions to traffic chokepoints and conflicts; and
  • Pursuing an effort of 3 decades to reform the land use plans in these communities to better separate industrial from residential land uses.

However, local efforts cannot compel a faster industrywide shift to electric trucks and away from fossil fuels. We need action at the state level to require zero-emission trucks in California at the earliest possible. CARB should not invest in false solutions such as polluting natural gas trucks, and these should not be considered under ACT and related rules.

EHC supports this rule in its current form and we urge adoption. We want to thank CARB staff for listening to EJ and clean freight advocates and strengthening this rule.

 

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According to the state’s air quality agency, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), some 70% of cancer risks from breathing polluted air in the state are from diesel. In the San Diego region, 90% of diesel emissions are from mobile sources such as heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles are a major source of toxic diesel particulate matter which is linked to cancer, asthma, heart disease, and many other serious health problems.

EJ communities have more diesel in the air and have higher rates of asthma and other conditions linked to diesel exposure. The Barrio Logan and Logan Heights areas rank in the top 5% statewide on the CalenviroScreen diesel indicator.

We need CARB to act now and act strongly. And we need you to send them a strong message.

CARB will vote on a new Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) at their June 25, 2020 meeting. CARB staff is recommending a strong rule that will result in 15% of heavy-duty trucks on the roads by 2033 be zero-emission. EHC and clean freight activists throughout California support these recommendations.

Please urge CARB to adopt the strong ACT rule proposed by staff. There’s two ways you can do this, both remotely:

  1. Join the CARB meeting via a webinar
  2. Register and call into the meeting

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. on June 25, 2020, and there will be Spanish translation.

For more information on participating, please contact EHC Air Quality Director, David Flores:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; (619) 587-5557 (mobile).

Image credit: Port of San Diego

 

No new shipyards!

Austal USA is proposing to build a major ship repair facility in West National City. If approved by the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, the new shipyard will add a significant new source of air pollution in National City. National City already ranks in the top 95-97 percentiles for diesel particulate matter (PM) in California.

EHC, along with the Ports Tenants Association, Pasha Automotive Services, San Diego Labor Council, and National City residents are demanding the Port of San Diego reject the Austal shipyard proposal and not create more air pollution in our communities.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY!

At their May 19 meeting (tomorrow), the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners will review the Austal proposal. Here is what you can do to send them a strong message to reject the proposed shipyard:

  • Attend the May 19 Board meeting virtually at 1 p.m. – Join the meeting here
  • Email a brief letter with your #nonewshipyard demand today to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Call 619-736-2155 and leave a voicemail message with your demand

Please email and/or call today or before 11 AM on Tuesday May 19, 2020 so the Port Commissioners hear your voice.

The proposed Austal shipyard project would adversely affect the health and well-being of one the most impacted environmental justice communities in the San Diego region – and that’s not all!

Besides worsening air quality in National City, Austal’s operations will use toxic materials and generate hazardous wastes threatening the surrounding communities and San Diego Bay. These include toxic, hazardous, and flammable materials such as lead, zinc, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Please email and/or call the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners today and demand:

  1. No more air pollution – NO NEW SHIPYARDS
  2. Stay the course of reducing emissions!
  3. Implement the air quality strategies promised

#nonewshipyard

Image Source: Wikimedia. Public domain photo by Josiah Poppler

Julie Corrales, a poet, community activist, and mother of 2, lives in a historic home in the Barrio Logan community of San Diego. She settled her family in the cute blue house on a street close to Perkins elementary school, a street on which trucks over 5 tons are banned. Julie was startled to be awakened one night by trucks driving down her street and idling in the alley next to her house. Web cameras installed by EHC show trucks passing her home many times a day.

 

Barrio Logan and West National City are adjacent to Port cargo terminals, freeways, waterfront industry, and a BNSF railyard. Many businesses within these mixed-use communities generate truck traffic in the form of delivery trucks. All these sources of diesel pollution affect air quality and health in these communities.

Both communities also rank high on the CalEnviroScreen overall and for diesel. Barrio Logan, in fact, ranks in the top 5% statewide on the CalEnviroScreen diesel indicator and the asthma indicator as well.

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(Heavy-duty truck parked in front of Perkins Elementary School in Barrio Logan)


EHC and our community leaders are doing everything we can locally to reduce truck impacts:

  • Working with the City to establish and enforce truck routes
  • Working with the Port to educate truck drivers on the new route
  • Working through the Portside communities Clean Air Protection Program (AB 617) to incentivize cleaner trucks in our communities
  • Pursuing a decades-long effort to reform the land use plans in these communities to better separate industrial from residential land uses

However, local efforts cannot compel a faster industrywide shift to electric trucks and away from diesel. We need action at the state level to require zero- emission trucks in California at the earliest possible date.

We join clean freight activists throughout California in asking the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt an Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule that will result in 15% of heavy-duty trucks on the roads by 2030 being zero emission. The currently proposed rule will result in only 4% Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) trucks on the road by 2030. We need a stronger rule now!

We know a faster shift to ZEV is feasible. A large number of the truck traffic going through and around our portside communities consists of trucks visiting the Port’s cargo terminals. A Port estimate from a year ago is that about 28% of the total Port-related truck trips are 50 miles or less. Another large percentage travels routes of less than 200 miles, to the Los Angeles-Long Beach area or up to the San Bernardino area. Electric trucks that can drive these distances already exist, and are being deployed in demonstration projects today. It is important to make sure they are fully commercialized and available to truck fleets to purchase over the next decade.

Cleaner air, faster, will be good for the entire state of California – and for our ailing planet, in desperate need of reduced greenhouse gas assaults. It will be especially beneficial for Julie Corrales, her children, and other residents of communities most impacted by diesel pollution in California.

We call on CARB to adopt a strong ACT rule.

 

On December 10, 2018, San Diego City Council unanimously passed a resolution prohibiting heavy-duty commercial truck traffic on Barrio Logan residential streets. The resolution resulted in some new signage installations but there has been little enforcement by the San Diego Police Department (SDPD).

Prohibited truck traffic continues unabated on residential streets in Barrio Logan, putting families and residents in harm’s way. On August 9, 2019, a non-compliant heavy-duty truck traveling on Main Street lost control crashing into power lines and fire hydrants.  The truck burst into flames and came to rest just a few feet from a home with children sleeping inside.

As of October 23, 2019, SDPD has only issued 49 citations to non-complaint trucks this year.  EHC and Barrio Logan residents are discouraged and outraged by the lack of truck route enforcement. EHC representatives and residents voiced their concerns and demands at the October 16, 2019 Barrio Logan Planning Group meeting, and again at the October 23, 2019 Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee meeting. At both meetings, EHC staff shared recent video footage of non-complaint trucks on residential streets and presented specific enforcement actions the SDPD can take. 

 

EHC has written a formal letter to San Diego City Councilmember Vivian Moreno asking for three specific actions:

  • Provide consistent monitoring
  • Educate truckers
  • Issue citations

Councilmembers Moreno and Montgomery expressed strong concerns at the Council Committee meeting.  CM Moreno asked SDPD to make monthly reports on citations issued to the planning group and to use the locations and times provided by EHC to develop a monitoring program.

 MEDIA COVERAGE

 WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Send signed petitions to Jorge Gonzales:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact him at (510) 559-0978 for more information.