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L.A. reaches agreement to move TraPac terminal plan forward

L.A. reaches agreement to move TraPac terminal plan forward

   Los Angeles city officials will hold a press conference Thursday to announce that a long-stalled major Port of Los Angeles terminal expansion project will move forward.

   Details of the agreement allowing environmental documents for the TransPacific, or TraPac, terminal development to move forward have not been released, but officials from the office of City Council member Janice Hahn confirmed today that an agreement had been reached. Hahn will join other city officials at the Port of Los Angeles Thursday to make the announcement.

   Last December, the Port of Los Angeles broke a self-imposed moratorium on port development when the Harbor Commission approved environmental documents for a container terminal expansion project. The approval, the first step to getting the nearly 10-year-old terminal project underway, was the first move toward a major development project at the port in more than five years.

   The port, along with officials from the neighboring Long Beach port, have pushed back development and spent hundreds of millions of dollars on environmental programs since a 2002 Los Angeles port project was squashed by a National Resources Defense Fund lawsuit. The port eventually settled with the NRDC at the cost of nearly $100 million in project retrofits and lost revenues.

   Following port commission approval of the TraPac plan in December, the 1,000-page EIR was sent to the Los Angeles City Council for a required vote. Before the council voted, a coalition of 16 environmental, community and labor groups, including the NRDC, filed an appeal with the council against the EIR. The group said the document did not move fast or far enough in proposed environmental efforts regarding the project.

   'I share the concerns raised in the appeal that the mitigation just does not go far enough,' Hahn said at the time. 'The appeal will give us the opportunity to fully investigate and address these concerns.'

   Following the coalition's appeal, the council delayed an immediate vote on the TraPac EIR and referred the document to its Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Tourism, headed by Hahn.

   Hahn admitted the coalition's appeal is a precursor to a full lawsuit, but hoped that ongoing negotiations with the group could forestall litigation.

   'It is my goal,' she said, 'to get these clean air policies in place, avoid a lawsuit, set the right precedent for future projects and move the TraPac project forward.' ' Keith Higginbotham

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