FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
With Hundreds of Lives at Stake, Community and Environmental Groups Urge Air Resources Board to Take Action at April 20 Hearing
Los Angeles-A coalition of 14 groups from across the state have signed a joint letter to urge the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to quickly implement its statewide Emission Reduction Plan for Ports and Goods Movement at its Thursday hearing in Long Beach.
The groups - which include the Coalition for Clean Air, Natural Resources Defense Council, American Lung Association of California, Sierra Club California, Pacific Institute, Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, Bluewater Network, Environmental Health Coalition, West Oakland Environmental Indicator Project, Fresno Metropolitan Ministry, Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, Coalition for a Safe Environment, Kirsch Foundation, and San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners Coalition - support the work ARB staff has completed.
Additionally, on behalf of more than 250,000 California members of those groups, the coalition urges the Board to move forward to turn this broad plan into specific, immediate and aggressive regulations.
"This industry takes more lives each year as a result of air pollution than virtually any other, yet it has never been regulated" said Julie Masters, Director of NRDC's Southern California Air Program. "A comprehensive clean up plan is long overdue, and we need clear leadership from the ARB Board to ensure that it is strong and aggressive."
"ARB has done a commendable job of diagnosing the problem," said Tom Plenys, the Coalition for Clean Air's Research and Policy Manager. "But if the state doesn't aggressively treat the symptoms of goods movement pollution now, thousands of Californians will continue to suffer and even die."
The shipment of goods to the ports - and across the state - relies on an interconnected network of ships, trucks, harbor craft, rail yards and other facilities. Goods movement is vital to the California economy, but it exacts a deadly toll on communities from the coast to the valleys.
According to the draft Emission Reduction Plan, the mostly unregulated goods movement industry has done little to stop pollution, and that has led to the premature death of at least 2,400 residents annually. Goods movement also puts nearly 3,000 residents in the hospital and leads to more than one million school absence days annually.
The pollution in California is also getting worse as the goods movement system is projected to triple or quadruple goods movement by 2020. With this surge in emissions, the draft plan states health costs to Californians will soar to about $200 billion by 2020.
In its letter to ARB, the community and environmental groups are asking the Board on April 20th to direct the ARB staff to:
For 35 years, the Coalition for Clean Air (www.coalitionforcleanair.org) has worked to restore clean, healthful air to California. With its offices in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Fresno, it is the only non-profit advocacy organization dedicated exclusively to improving air quality statewide.
NRDC (www.nrdc.org) is the nation's most effective environmental action organization. It uses law, science and the support of 1.2 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things..
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