Padilla Leads Letter to EPA Urging Authorization of California Clean Shipping Rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representative Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44) led 16 California Members in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, urging the EPA to grant authorization for the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) request for its Ocean-going Vessels At-Berth Regulation. The authorization is essential to reduce air pollution in California and protect the health of millions of people who are impacted by emissions from diesel-powered ships. The letter urges that the authorization be granted by October 31, 2023.
“Goods movement, including port operations, is one of the leading contributors to California’s notorious air pollution problems. The state has a total of twelve ports, including the largest port complex in the nation, the San Pedro Bay Ports,” wrote the lawmakers. “Emission reductions attributable to the 2020 At-Berth Regulation is estimated to prevent 237 premature deaths, 75 hospitalizations, and 122 emergency room visits from 2021 to 2032.”
California’s At-Berth Regulation would require large ships to plug into shore power at ports, rather than run their engines on toxic bunker fuel. It has been over one year since California submitted its request to the EPA in September of 2022, and no action has been taken. The delay in authorization has slowed down efforts by CARB to reduce ship emissions. Californians, especially in portside communities, bear disproportionate health burdens from this air pollution and deserve relief.
In addition to Senator Padilla and Representative Barragán, the letter was also signed by Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.-10), Robert Garcia (D-Calif.-42), Josh Harder (D-Calif.-09), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.-02), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.-37), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.-12), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.-36), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.-18), Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.-15), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.-31), Katie Porter (D-Calif.-47), Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.-38), Mark Takano (D-Calif.-39), and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.-52).
The letter also has the support of the following organizations: Earthjustice, Pacific Environment, Sierra Club, Regional Asthma Management & Prevention, Ocean Conservancy, Little Manila Rising, California Environmental Voters, Friends of the Earth (FoE), Environmental Defense Fund, San Pedro & Peninsula Homeowners Coalition, California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy, Breathe Southern California, Sunflower Alliance, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Pacific Environment, CCAEJ, Move LA, Center for Biological Diversity, and the Coalition for Clean Air.
Full text of the letter is available here and below:
Dear Administrator Regan,
We write to urge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to grant the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) request from September 2022, in which CARB submitted an authorization request to EPA pursuant to section 209(e) of the Clean Air Act for its 2020 Amendments to the Ocean-going Vessels At-Berth Regulation. The 2020 At-Berth Regulation is essential to reducing air pollution in California and protecting the health of millions of the State’s communities who are most impacted by emissions from diesel-powered ships.
Goods movement, including port operations, is one of the leading contributors to California’s notorious air pollution problems. The state has a total of twelve ports, including the largest port complex in the nation, the San Pedro Bay Ports. The equipment needed to facilitate this goods movement ecosystem, such as trucks, locomotives, and ships, primarily operate on diesel fuels and emit harmful air pollutants. Of all port sources, oceangoing vessels are responsible for the largest share of pollution from port operations.
Californians, especially our portside communities who bear disproportionate health burdens, deserve immediate relief from this pollution. EPA is essential to delivering this relief by granting CARB’s authorization request for the 2020 At-Berth Regulation, which is projected to reduce cancer risk for more than 2.4 million people living near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and more than 14,000 people living near the Port of Richmond.
Emission reductions attributable to the 2020 At-Berth Regulation is estimated to prevent 237 premature deaths, 75 hospitalizations, and 122 emergency room visits from 2021 to 2032. These health benefits, much of which will be felt by environmental justice communities, are valued at approximately $2.32 billion.
EPA has an opportunity to bring about significant emission reductions in California and partially alleviate the harmful health impacts associated with at-berth pollution by granting an authorization for the 2020 At-Berth Regulation. The agency must do so as soon as possible. A year has passed since California submitted its request, and the delay in EPA’s authorization is already having grave impacts. Implementation of the 2020 At-Berth Regulation began this year and requires at-berth emission reductions for additional visits of already-covered vessel categories at California ports. CARB projected that compliance from these additional vessel visits alone would reduce NOx emissions statewide by 1.5 tons per day in 2023. These reductions are at risk without EPA’s timely issuance of an authorization. Due to the administrative delay in receiving its authorization, CARB is currently allowing terminal and vessel operators to comply with its previous regulation adopted in 2007, rather than the more health-protective 2020 rule.
To ensure that Californians receive the health benefits that they were promised under the 2020 At-Berth Regulation, we urge EPA to issue the authorization for California’s 2020 At-Berth Regulation before October 31, 2023. Thank you for your consideration.