Ports Primer – 7.6 Case Studies: Environment
Near-port communities and ports have successfully partnered on projects to reduce environmental impacts. Through the Swan Island Air Quality Project, the Port of Portland, Oregon, partnered with neighborhood association leaders and other port stakeholders to address air quality and health impacts on the local community. The Port of Bellingham and the Washington Department of Ecology engaged community residents, business owners and other port stakeholders to develop a plan for aligning environmental cleanups and waterfront revitalization at Bellingham Bay.
In other instances, legal challenges have resulted in improvements to environmental conditions. At the Port of Los Angeles, a legal settlement between the Port and the City of Los Angeles and the claimants resulted in the introduction of shoreside power technology at the China Shipping terminal.
Port of Los Angeles: Shoreside Power1
The Port of Los Angeles has made a significant investment in extending electric power infrastructure to container ship terminals. This allows ships to plug into external power sources instead of continuously idling while at the terminal. The power facility is a direct outcome of a legal settlement from the Port and the City of Los Angeles who were sued by the Natural Resource Defense Council, Coalition for Clean Air, and two San Pedro Homeowner groups.
The port has the capability to plug in two containercontainerA box made of aluminum, steel or fiberglass used to transport cargo by ship, rail, truck or barge. Common dimensions are 20' x 8' x 8' (called a TEU or twenty-foot equivalent unit) or 40' x 8' x 8' (called an FEU or forty-foot equivalent unit). ships at a time. The port estimates that this alternate mode of powering docked ships results in the elimination of at least one ton of nitrous oxides and particulate matter each day for every ship that plugs in.
Port of Bellingham: Bellingham Bay Demonstration Project
The Port of Bellingham and the Washington Department of Ecology co-manage a cooperative partnership aimed to streamline contaminated sediment cleanup, contaminant source control, habitat restoration, and aquatic and shoreline land use planning issues in Bellingham Bay. This initiative brings together 14 government and industry organizations along with residents and businesses with an interest in improving the health of the Bay.
The initiative produces and distributes information through general summaries, fact sheets and comprehensive reports, all aimed to address the needs of the community. In addition, informal discussions, meetings and formal workshops provide opportunity for community input and feedback. Other key public outreach efforts include:
- An information fair at Bellingham Cruise Terminal,
- Community briefings at meetings of local governments, tribal councils, and business and civic groups,
- Online information, and
- Informational articles shared through community newsletters and publications.
The Bellingham Bay Demonstration Project has resulted in the development of a comprehensive strategic environmental planning document; helped revitalize the community’s waterfront through construction of a dock, construction of a beach and general waterfront rehabilitation; served as a national model for comprehensive environmental management; identified 19 high priority habitat restoration projects; and controlled pollution sources. The Port of Bellingham, the local community, and government and industry organizations continue to work together to create a healthy and vibrant waterfront.
For more information:
- Bellingham Bay Pilot Demonstration Project
- Bellingham Bay’s Changing Waterfront
- American Association of Port Authorities (PDF) (9 pp, 451 K, About PDF)
Port of Portland: Swan Island Air Quality Project
The Port of Portland funded a two-year community involvement program in coordination with a study that explored levels of chemical emissions from nearby industrial facilities and the potential for exposure and health impacts on the local community. The Port felt that there were environmental, political and business reasons to conduct the study and sought data in a conscientious and careful manner.
A Task Force was created to support community involvement. Members included the Port of Portland, Cascade General, Inc. (the shipyard operator), the Department of Environmental Quality, and three neighborhood associations. The Port also provided two outside experts on toxic health and environmental issues communications.
Through this initiative, the shipyard operator, Cascade General, agreed to eliminate certain paints, improve practices and change operational technologies; provided a model for technical and community input on the state hazardous air pollution program; increased public education; and improved relations between communities, businesses, agencies and the Port.