January 30, 2006

Dockworkers target pollution cuts at ports

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Union dockworkers on Monday
launched their first campaign to reduce air pollution from
vessels calling at ports along the U.S. West Coast, joining a
wider global effort to curb pollution from shipping.

A recently adopted rule requires ships to burn a cleaner
marine fuel in auxiliary motors within 24 miles of a California
port, but there are no regulations for the main -- diesel --
engines, California Air Resources Board spokesman Jerry Martin

Without new pollution controls, regulators expect the ports
of Los Angeles and Long Beach will contribute 20 percent of all
air pollution in the Los Angeles basin by 2025, he said.

Regulators, in a study last year, said diesel fumes from
the two ports -- the busiest U.S. commercial port complex --
raise the risk of cancer for people living up to 15 miles

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which
represents 60,000 dockworkers on the West Coast, and Los
Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the move at a
freight transport conference in Long Beach, California,
studying ways to improve the air quality at ports.

The ILWU aims to cut emissions from diesel-fueled vessels
calling at West Coast ports by 20 percent by 2010 and to reduce
pollution from trucks and cargo-handling equipment on the
docks, ILWU President James Spinosa said in a statement.

The union and Villaraigosa will push shipping lines, state
and federal officials, and dockworkers in other countries to
use cleaner marine fuels and new technologies to cut back
pollution levels.

The report by the California Air Resources Board said
50,000 people living closest to the two ports face a
higher-than-average risk of developing cancer from port
pollution alone.

Jim McKenna, chief executive of the Pacific Maritime
Association, which represents West Coast shipping companies,
said "reducing emissions and expanding port capacity are both
connected and a priority for the maritime industry."