Tuesday, June 23, 2009

L.A Times - "Ship pollution: EPA 'not responsive,' inspector says"

There was an article recently in the L.A Times (here), calling out the E.P.A. for its failure to protect Americans from pollution from oceangoing ships.

I discovered it when I was looking at some information on port pollution at the Natural Resources Defense Council's web site (here). If you search for "port pollution" on the NRDC web site, you will find many stories, blog entries, etc. about port pollution.

My awareness of the L.A Times article, and its discussion of the EPA's Office of the Inspector General (IG) recently issued 80-page report, came via the writing of David Pettit in his blog (here).

There is much other interesting information in his piece -

E.P.A Gives Port Pollution Failing Grade

David Pettit
Director, Southern California Air Program, Santa Monica, CA
Blog | About
"a July 2008 NOAA study (that) "found that emissions from shipping have a significant impact on air quality and health on both local and regional scales. Extensive measurements of the emissions of light absorbing carbon aerosol, or soot, from commercial shipping showed increased concentrations of this aerosol at U.S. ports on the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast. The study also suggested that large oceangoing vessels may emit up to twice as much aerosol as previously estimated."

He also says -

"the EPA itself recently conducted an initial screening level analysis on the size of the U.S. population living near 47 marine ports and 37 rail yards. The results indicate that at least 13 million people, including a disproportionate number of low-income households -- many African-American and Hispanic families -- live in the vicinity of port-related facilities and are exposed to toxic levels ambient diesel particulate matter."

This is not news to anyone who has been reading this blog. There are statements made by the EPA itself on the sidebar of this blog that refer to the carcinogenic effect of these emissions and that speak directly to the danger they pose to our most vulnerable - children included. However, it's heartening to see that more people are writing about these important issues - ones that affect all of our neighborhoods of Red Hook, Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill - and are therefore raising awareness of it.

Once people realize what an important issue this is, hopefully there will be pressure put on the likes of the E.P.A., and on the EDC and Port Authority, considering the decisions being made by them affecting our community (the expansion of Red Hook container terminal, more container ships, more truck pollution, etc.) to act to protect people from the impact of these emissions and ensuring the already available solutions are put in place to mitigate these impacts.

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