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Port Authority Dirty Diesel Rollback Must Have Had Green Light From Christie DEP

Port Authority Rollback a Major Assault And Environmental Injustice To Newark

Will Newark Mayor Baraka Sit Back and Take It?

time for some pollution problems in Newark”

The Clean Air Strategy for the Port of NY and NJ was developed during 2008 and 2009, with input from a diverse set of stakeholders. The purpose of CASP is to define a commitment by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) and its Strategy Group Partners to ensure that air emissions generated by mobile sources associated with marine terminal operations and activities decline even with anticipated future maritime transportation growth over the next ten years. The goal of the Clean Air Strategy for the Port of NY and NJ is to achieve a minimum 30% net reduction of criteria pollutants (including PM2.5) and 50% net reduction of greenhouse gases over 10 years, after accounting for emission increases resulting from increases in goods movement. On March 10, 2010 NJDEP, and other Strategy Group partners on the Clean Air Strategy Plan Steering Committee, signed a “Joint Statement of Intent to Support Port Sustainability for the New York- New Jersey Metropolitan Area.” The agreement memorializes the shared commitment to work collaboratively to reduce emissions from the maritime operations of the Port of NY and NJ.  ~~~ Source: Christie NJ DEP

I am appalled to just now read that the Port Authority abandoned  it’s commitment to reduce toxic air pollution emissions from diesel trucks serving the Port, see:

But I can’t figure out why Scott Fallon of the Bergen Record, while mentioning US EPA, let the Christie Administration completely off the hook.

It is a sharp reversal from plans announced by the Port Authority and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency five years ago that would have denied entry to all trucks that didn’t meet 2007 federal emission standards beginning next year in a major effort to help improve the air quality in the state.

Bridegate left no doubt about how the Governor is able to assert this power at the PA.

This was a significant policy decision by the Port Authority (PA) that has major impacts on the health of the people of Newark and nearby NJ communities.

Accordingly,that move must have had a green light from Governor Christie.

In addition to Gov. Christie’s policy role on the Port Authority Board, NJ DEP was a partner in developing the PA’s “Clean Air Strategy”

In creating this Strategy, the Port Authority worked closely with the following partners (Partners) who have endorsed this Strategy: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), The City of New York (including the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability and the Department of Transportation), New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), New York Shipping Association (NYSA), United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Region 2, City of Bayonne, City of Elizabeth, City of Jersey City, and City of Newark. This group, along with the Port Authority, comprised the Strategy Group, which oversaw the development of this Strategy.

The Christie DEP’s dirty diesel “Stop The Soot” program touts and is directly involved in the PA’s efforts:

  • Diesel exhaust cancer risk: The predicted cancer risk in surrounding residences decreases between the Phase 1 baseline and Phase 2 future years by an average of nearly 40 in a million but is still between 10 and 100 in a million which is high enough to justify long term efforts to further reduce cancer risk.
  • Emissions from marine terminal activities were above New Jersey’s significant impact levels (SIL’s) for 24-hour PM2.5 in some surrounding communities in the Phase 1 baseline but not in the Phase 2 future case.

Maybe Fallon let Christie and NJ DEP off the hook because of his primary source for the story:

“They completely gutted the entire program with no promise to come back,” said Amy Goldsmith, chairwoman of the Coalition for Healthy Ports, a national organization pushing for the ban.

Surely Fallon knows that Ms. Goldsmith also is the head of the NJ Environmental Federation (now renamed “Clean Water Action”) who endorsed candidate Christie for Governor in 2009 in part, specifically based on his promise to ratchet down on diesel emissions and implement environmental justice programs.

The NJEF endorsement press release cheered that Christie would:

  • Requiring retrofits of diesel engines used under state contracts – this will save lives, reduce health care costs and avoid days lost at school and work but it has been rejected by Governor Corzine;

Since that time, I’ve seen very little press coverage – or efforts by environmental groups – to hold Christie, NJ DEP or the Pot Authorty accountable for their commitments.

This political, advocacy, and accountability failure needs to be a part of this story.

And I don’t recall a public apology from Goldsmith and the NJEF Board for the Christie endorsement.

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