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$650 Million for a Healthier Community

April 17th, 2009

Press Releases

For Immediate Release
April 17, 2009

$650 Million for a Healthier Community

News Conference Showcased Air Quality Actions and Green Technology to Clean Up the Air at the Port of Oakland

Oakland, Calif.—April 17, 2009 — The Port of Oakland held a news conference with its business partners to announce their $650 million plan to clean up the air at the Oakland seaport. The sources of pollution that the Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan addresses include ships, trucks, locomotives, tugboats, and cargo handling equipment.

The investment that the Port of Oakland is making along with its partners will be approximately $650 million for reducing diesel pollution for a healthier community:

  • Approximately $215 million will be Port funded
  • $250 million from Port maritime business partners
  • $185 million from Port trucking business partners

Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin said, “This plan will guide us from now through 2020 on how we reduce diesel pollution from ships, trucks, trains and other sources in the seaport area. The Port of Oakland, the trucking industry, our maritime tenants and customers, other public agencies and stakeholders will work together to take specific actions to cut air pollution. Our goal is to reduce the health risk from diesel pollution from seaport sources by 85% by the year 2020.” Benjamin added, “We are committed to this goal of reducing pollution for a healthier community and look forward to working with you and all of our stakeholders as we move forward.”

Maritime activities at the Port of Oakland are vital for Oakland and the region in terms of the economy and jobs, but air pollution is also created by some of those same activities. A study by the California Air Resources Board found that maritime activities at the Port of Oakland contributed to about 16% of the health risk from diesel pollution in the West Oakland neighborhood.

Benjamin stated, “We take our 16% very seriously.” The Port of Oakland has taken a number of steps to reduce diesel pollution over the past several years, but intends to do even more. The Port and all of its partners –tenants, customers, trucking, shipping and rail and other public agencies – will be working together to move forward on reducing pollution.

At the last Board meeting, the Oakland Board of Port Board of Commissioners approved up to $5 million for retrofitting trucks that serve the Port area with a filter that reduces diesel pollution by at least 85%. The Port Commissioners made this commitment despite the economic challenge that the Port faces today and the economic downturn that all Port tenants and customers have to deal with. The Port of Oakland’s $5 million, combined with $5 million from the Air District will clean up hundreds of trucks at the Oakland seaport before any of the new regulations take effect next year. The Port is also retrofitting its own Port diesel trucks with filters.

According to Port officials, there are new regulations that will be coming into effect over the next several years. Benjamin said, “Our actions today, along with those of our partners and other stakeholders, will help clean up the air for a healthier community.”

The Oakland Board of Port Commissioners reached a major environmental milestone at its most recent regular meeting (April 7); approval of the Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan (MAQIP). The MAQIP is the Port's comprehensive Master Plan to improve air quality related to Port maritime operations through 2020. According to Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin, “The Port of Oakland has an 80-year-history of implementing plans to grow the Port’s transportation facilities while providing economic, social and environmental benefits to serve the region and our citizens. We are confident and intend to achieve our goal of reducing the health risk from diesel pollution from Port sources by 85% by the year 2020.”

Because of the Board approvals, the Port of Oakland will be able to continue moving forward with projects that clean up the air such as installing 10 diesel particulate filters on Port-owned vehicles; and planning and investment to implement shore power (reduce pollution from ships while at dock). According to the March 2008 Health Risk Assessment by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) – the contribution of all Oakland seaport sources to West Oakland health risk from diesel pollution is approximately 16% of which 4% of the total West Oakland health risk from diesel pollution is attributed to Port drayage trucks.

Richard Sinkoff is the Port’s Director of the Environmental Programs and Planning Division, “This plan (MAQIP) is a valuable tool allowing us to move forward with feasible projects that clean up the air and thereby promote a healthier community. One way we'll reach our 85% goal is by working with our tenants to dramatically cut emissions from ship engines while they’re at dock; another is by continuing to help truckers retrofit or replace their diesel engines.”

In addition to Port Executive Director Omar Benjamin, speaking at the news conference were Port Commissioner Margaret Gordon; Mike Jacob, Vice President, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association; Bill Peterson, Ports America; Scott Taylor, GSC Logistics; James Jack, Coalition for Responsible Trucking; Ellen Jonck, Executive Director, Bay Planning Coalition; Brad Edgar, Cleaire.

About the Port of Oakland: 
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport and 20 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the third busiest containerport on the U.S. West Coast and the fifth busiest in the nation. Oakland International Airport offers 150 daily nonstop flights to 32 destinations; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square, as well as hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland. Please visit www.portofoakland.com.


Port of Oakland
Marilyn Sandifur, Port Spokesperson
Media & Public Relations Department
(510) 627-1193


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