May 17, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif (May 17, 2023) — Community leaders and local officials held a rally and press conference in front […]


Community Leaders and Policymakers Unite for ‘For Our Lives’ Rally and Press Conference in Bay Area, Calling for End to Fossil-Fueled Ship Pollution

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif (May 17, 2023) — Community leaders and local officials held a rally and press conference in front of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s offices in San Francisco to urge the EPA, Governor Gavin Newsom, and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to clean up ocean shipping at the ports and commit to new regulation to end fossil-fueled ship pollution in California waters by 2040. 

Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez, Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb and Marjaneh Moini, MD, Board Member, SF Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility spoke about the negative impacts of ship pollution on their neighborhoods and Pacific Environment presented a letter scroll to a representative from the EPA Region 9 Advocates held signs that read, “Gov. Newsom: stand up to Big Shipping!” and “Dirty Ship. Dirty Lungs. California, #RuleOutPollution, Zero-emission ships by 2040!” This event was hosted by Sunflower Alliance, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project,  Environmental Defense Fund and Pacific Environment. About 30 advocates were in attendance.

“For over a century, the City of Richmond has been run by people reacting to what’s been brought to them by the fossil fuel industry and heavy polluters, as opposed to proactively creating a vision of what we can become. I feel confident that our city’s future is in green jobs, with work that funnels money back into the city and supports the health of Richmond residents and our planet. Our biggest opportunity is in the port, which is a blank canvas for clean energy and dignified work, not dirty ships transporting dirty fuel sources,” said Richmond Mayor Eduardo Martinez.

“The diesel pollution from ships going to, berthing at, and coming from the Port of Oakland and other California ports is causing substantial harm to our workers and nearby residents,” said Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb, a long-time environmental and climate justice advocate. “We need serious coordinated action among all levels of government to reduce the harmful toxic air contaminants so prevalent near our ports.”

The groups are urging EPA to swiftly authorize California’s at-berth rule to reduce and eliminate  climate-warming, life-shortening pollution from fossil-fueled ocean-going vessels (OGVs) from idling parked ship engines at the ports. 

The At-Berth is one of many emission reduction items that must become upgraded to zero mission. Impact communities such as Richmond, West Oakland and in Bay Area over disparity redlined industrial use, that residents living next or near have life expectancy of less than 10 or more years to live. The people living near ports are mostly black, brown, red, yellow and poor white people, they live with health problems  more than other communities that don’t have such industry mobile sources of pollution. 

This At-Berth Rule is supporting a healthier community  and next generation living  near a port in California,” said Ms. Margaret Gordon, Co-Director, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project.

Per CARB’s commitments from 16 years ago and an update in 2020, CARB’s at-berth rule would have required container, reefer and cruise vessels to plug into electric shore-power when parked at California ports starting at the beginning of 2023. If implemented, it would have saved 237 lives, yield $2.31 billion in public health benefits, and reduce NOx emissions by 17,500 tons and carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 356,000 metric tons by 2032. CARB’s at-berth rule was slated to go into effect at the beginning of 2023, but implementation has been delayed due to the threat of a Big Shipping industry lawsuit and delay at the federal EPA.

“California has been a leader to reduce emissions from trains and trucks, but the largest source of emissions has been left out of the puzzle – ocean cargo ships. We need California to once again show its climate leadership, and get the shipping industry to 100% zero emissions by 2040 in order to protect our port communities and combat climate change,” said Teresa Bui, Climate Policy Director, Pacific Environment

Dirty ships equals dirty lungs and we are calling on California leaders — Governor Newsom, the California Air Resources Board, the EPA —  to immediately implement the at-berth rule and commit to new regulation to end fossil-fueled ship pollution in California waters by 2040. Governor Newsom and CARB have moved to electrify rail and big rigs trucks, now it’s time to stop the harms to communities and workers from fossil-fueled shipping in California.