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John Petro

How Obama Can Clean the Air in Southern California

This morning, President Obama took an important step towards reducing the nation’s dependency on oil and reducing the emission of greenhouse gases when he issued a memorandum directing the EPA to reconsider denying California a waiver that would allow the state to impose stricter emissions standards than the national standard.

There’s another independent federal agency that is currently blocking efforts in California to improve air quality. The Obama administration should next turn to the Federal Maritime Commission, the regulatory agency responsible for the regulation of ocean cargo, which has blocked the implementation of the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach Clean Truck Program since October of last year. President Obama has stated his support for the program, which has the potential to increase the labor standards and compensation of port truck drivers as well as reduce port-related emissions by 30-40%.

Specifically, the president should make appointing new members to the Maritime Commission a priority. Currently, there are two empty seats on the five-member Commission. The sitting commissioners have twice voted 2-1 in favor of blocking the Clean Truck Program. The dissenting commissioner, Joseph Brennan, has called the FMC’s blockage of the program a “colossal mistake.” If President Obama were to appoint two more like-minded commissioners, the Maritime Commission could vote 3-2 to end the litigation against the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 26, 2009 in Environmental Justice | Urban Affairs
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