Long Beach officials warn of need/costs for green projects
Long Beach city officials warned that any future expansion of cargo capacity through Southern California ports must include projects to mitigate the environmental impacts of the industry on the local area.
'One thing that I believe the Long Beach governmental structure, the citizens, and the California legislature is sure of, is that for every infrastructure project that we have, no matter what it is to expand the capacity of the ports and the arteries going to and from them, will have to have an environmental initiative tied to it,' Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster told attendees of the Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference in Long Beach.
'This is the only way that expansion will be tolerated,' he said, adding that this is already the policy of many in the local and state government.
The Port of Long Beach, combined with the neighboring Port of Los Angeles, is the world's fifth-largest port complex. Both ports have seen recent development projects put on hold or stopped outright due to public pressure over reducing air pollution coming from the ships, trucks and other equipment at the ports. The two ports have promised million of dollars in environmental programs over the next decade in an effort to appease the public concerns.
Foster warned conference attendees that the ports are not the only ones that will likely be writing checks. 'This is going to cost billions of dollars and will require willing participants like you to make these environmental programs happen,' he said.
James Hankla, president of the Port of Long Beach governing board, mirrored Foster's sentiments. 'There is no question that trade will grow,' he told attendees. But, he warned, 'growth will not occur without cutting environmental impacts.'
Hankla, who at one time was also the top city government executive in Long Beach, pointed to a profound change happening in the industry. 'We need to change the way we do business ' we need to change our way of life. Many of you are already finding ways to green your businesses. Many of you will come to the party too late.'