Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), an organization fighting toxic pollution in San Diego’s most vulnerable communities, applauds the Port for passing a sustainable plan for the expansion of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal that acknowledges and addresses concerns of the surrounding communities. Today, more than 40 community members from Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and Sherman Heights attended the hearing urging Port officials to reduce pollution and incorporate community benefits into the plan. More than 500 residents from the neighborhoods and throughout San Diego signed petitions echoing their demands.

“The community is encouraged by this step toward a mutually beneficial relationship with the Port,” says EHC Barrio Logan community organizer Jorge Gonzalez. “This plan will directly impact the lives of people living and working in Barrio Logan by reducing pollution now and in the future.”

The official Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal expansion plan includes:

  • Maximum cargo throughput that is 25 percent less than in the original plan
  • 36 new pieces of electric cargo handling equipment
  • Mandatory equipment that captures and treats smokestack emissions for ships that cannot plug into shore side electricity
  • Annual equipment inventory and technology review to identify new opportunities for emission reduction
  • A renewable energy project on the terminal, such as solar panels on warehouse buildings, or an equivalent locally approved program for greenhouse gas reductions

At the urging of Commissioner Rafael Castellanos, the Port also committed to implementing community benefits including local hire, air filters for Perkins Elementary School, resolving the existing parking problem and establishing a local community advisory committee to monitor the above mitigations.

“As a lifelong Barrio Logan resident, I’d like to see a portion of the funding for the Port expansion go toward community benefits – particularly air filters for Perkins Elementary and other important community facilities,” says 19-year-old Francisco Martinez. “We need a responsible and sustainable plan that leads to economic growth with less pollution and impacts on families like mine."

According to the California Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental justice screening tool, CalEnviroScreen, Barrio Logan remains among the worst five percent of neighborhoods suffering from the cumulative impacts of pollution in California. Despite progress made to the plan since its initial stage, EHC says it still means additional pollution for San Diego’s already over-polluted neighborhoods.

“The adoption of a plan far better than what was originally proposed is certainly a victory for the community,” says EHC Executive Director Diane Takvorian. “Yet this expansion plan undeniably adds another layer of pollution to a community already suffering the brunt of environmental inequity. There is much more work to be done, but we’re hopeful that this is a step in the right direction and that the Port will continue to adopt practices that reduce impacts to the adjacent neighborhoods.”

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH COALITION: Founded in 1980, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) builds grassroots campaigns to confront the unjust consequences of toxic pollution, discriminatory land use and unsustainable energy policies. Visit us online at http://www.environmentalhealth.org.