Rep. Barragan Introduces Bill To Make Ports Greener; Preserve Jobs

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, D-San Pedro, reintroduced a bill today to create the first federal program to make U.S. ports more environmentally friendly, preserve jobs and reduce toxic pollution in port communities.

The Climate Smart Ports Act previously passed through the U.S. House of Representatives after it was first introduced in May 2020, according to Barragan's office. She was one of 25 original cosponsors, including Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, and Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton.

“In many ways, the Port of Los Angeles is the heartbeat of my district,'' said Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragan.

“Ports are job creators, but also major sources of air pollution with serious public health consequences, particularly for the communities of color that tend to live nearby.''

“The people in these neighborhoods live close to working diesel trucks, ships, trains and cargo-handling equipment spewing poisons into our air and water. And we've paid the price. By greening our ports, we can tackle this environmental injustice,'' Barragan said.

The Climate Smart Ports Act would use $1 billion a year to create zero-emissions ports infrastructure programs that would assist ports to:

-- replace equipment that burns diesel, including cargo handling equipment, port harbor craft and drayage trucks, with zero-emissions equipment and technology;

-- fund the installation of shore power for docked ships and electric charging stations for vehicles and cargo equipment;

-- develop clean energy microgrids to power the facilities; and

-- implement labor provisions to protect workers from automation, require a prevailing wage for installation work through grants, and encourage union labor and local hiring.

The act would also authorize an additional $50 million a year for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, which was enacted to reduce port emissions.

Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore, will introduce a companion bill to the U.S. Senate now that the House bill was reintroduced on Thursday.

Photo: Getty Images

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