Environmental Health Assessment Case
Plans are in place for the expansion of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach located in the San Pedro Bay, California. There is a need to meet increasing cargo demand. The plan has received criticism over the potential increase in air pollution from diesel-powered ships that will result. Together, the two ports are the largest source of air pollution in the greater Los Angeles area. Particulate matter is emitted daily throughout the South Coast Basin and a large portion of it comes from diesel trucks while driving on port property. A published study showed a significant association between particulate matter, heart problems and higher cancer rates in adults (AQMD, 2000). Particulate matter also exacerbates asthma in children.Citizen groups in areas that would be impacted by the expansion of the ports are strongly opposing the plans. The planning staff has issued a finding that specific air emissions attributed to the expansion of the port are minimal to insignificant and will be offset by greener alternative fuels and shorter idling times for ships, since ship traffic congestion in the ports will be reduced as a result of the expansion. The citizen groups insist that any analysis of air emissions attributed to the ports should consider total emissions and not solely air emissions attributed to the proposed port expansion. The citizens position is that the planning staff conveniently presented their position on air emissions “out of context.”
In addition, there is much evidence that the 30,000 daily cargo trucks that haul the shipping containers from the ports contribute a significant amount of air pollutants along the freeways and streets in the area around the harbor and throughout Southern California. In fact, a program was just implemented that restricted the access of these “dirty” older diesel trucks from the port.
South Coast AQMD (2000). Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study in the
South Coast Air Basin (MATES-II). Retrieved on February 22, 2011 at http://www.aqmd.gov/matesiidf/matestoc.htm
Write a 3-5+ page paper in which you respond to the following questions:
1. State and discuss your opinion regarding whether or not the planning staff considered the air emission exposure problem “out of context”? (Remember what it means for an exposure problem to be “out of context”. You should explain this term first so you’re able to put your response in the proper context.)
2. Discuss who should take the lead to adequately respond to this problem. Do you think that the planning staff of the harbor or port can adequately respond to this problem? Should the local or state health department (Health Officer) take the lead role when responding to this issue?
3. Briefly, discuss the importance of engaging and understanding the position of the various stakeholders in this case.
4. How does the recent problem of controlling diesel truck emissions impact the ability of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to control emissions from diesel-powered ships?
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