California’s attorney general and representatives of the state’s Air Resources Board filed a motion Wednesday to join a lawsuit against the Port of Los Angeles for approving revised environmental standards at its China Shipping terminal.
The China Shipping terminal is located in close proximity to residential communities that are already exposed to disproportionately high amounts of air pollution, Attorney General Xavier Becerra stated.
Under the California Environmental Quality Act, the Port of Los Angeles is required to implement all feasible mitigation measures to reduce harmful air pollution and other significant environmental impacts of the revised China Shipping terminal project, he said.
“Far too often, modest-income and minority communities bear the brunt of environmental pollution and the resulting health risks,” Becerra said. “That’s why we have laws like CEQA that require companies to do everything they can to mitigate the environmental impacts of their projects.
“But without enforceability, these mitigation measures are just words on paper. If we’re going to secure a clean, healthy, and safe environment for all Californians, we need more than words. We need accountability.”
The attorney general contended that as written, the supplemental environmental impact report from China Shipping fails both to include mitigation measures and mechanisms for enforcing them.
On Sept. 16, the South Coast Air Quality Management District filed a lawsuit challenging the port’s approval of the revised project and environmental standards. In filing the motion to join the lawsuit, Becerra said he seeks to ensure mitigation measures will be implemented to substantially reduce or avoid the environmental impacts of the China Shipping terminal.
Calls to the City Attorney’s Office were not immediately returned, and a port spokesman said the port might not be able to comment because of the ongoing litigation.
“The city and Port of Los Angeles have allowed China Shipping to tear up the environmental mitigation promises that got them their permits to expand, while doing nothing to stop the company from pumping excessive amounts of pollution into nearby communities,” state Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols said.
The terminal has been operated continuously for 16 years by China Shipping (North American) Holdings, exposing the Los Angeles neighborhoods of San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson and west Long Beach to significant emissions of air pollutants, Becerra said.
The residents of these communities are already at higher risk of adverse health effects due to chronic exposure to air pollution resulting from operations at the port, which is linked to risks of cancer and other adverse health outcomes, the attorney general stated.
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