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EPA, Regions 3, 4, and 5 (R3: DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV. R4: AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN.  R5: IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI.)

Port of Huntington TriState Collaborative Geographic Initiative is a joint effort between EPA Regions 3, 4, and 5 and several other Agencies. The initiative includes enforcement, compliance assistance, and environmental justice concerns. Compliance assistance will be a focus for the following sectors: Coal Processing; Ship Building/Repair; Scrap/Recycling; Auto Salvage; Port Terminals and Unloading Operations; Stone/Clay/Glass/Ready Mix.

EPA, Region 9 (AZ, CA, HI, NV, Pacific Islands)

Settles CWA Industrial Storm Water Case at the Port of Los Angeles
On September 3, 2009, following a public comment period, Region 9's Regional Judicial Officer finalized a Consent Agreement/Final Order ("CA/FO") that settles violations of Section 301(a) of the Clean Water Act ("CWA") by APM Terminals Pacific Ltd. ("APM") at its marine cargo handling facility at the Port of Los Angeles, California. APM violated Section 301(a) of the Act by discharging pollutants in storm water from its Facility to the Inner Los Angeles Harbor on multiple occasions over several years while also failing to comply with the State of California's CWA section 402 industrial storm water general permit (the "General Storm Water Permit"). Specifically, APM violated the General Storm Water Permit by failing to develop an adequate storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) for the facility and also by failing to adequately implement best management practices at the facility. The CA/FO requires APM to pay a penalty of $47,100.

Port of Long Beach, Calif., Settles Lawsuit Over Clean-Truck Program
LOS ANGELES—The Port of Long Beach announced Oct. 19, 2009 a proposed settlement of the trucking industry's lawsuit challenging its clean-truck program (American Trucking Ass'ns Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, C.D. Cal., No. 08-4920, proposed settlement announced 10/19/09).

Port officials resolved the legal battle with the American Trucking Associations by agreeing to abandon plans to enforce compliance with the program through “concession agreements,” which allow the port to bar trucking companies from operating on its property.

The association's lawsuit challenging a similar program at the Port of Los Angeles is still pending in federal court.

In April, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California blocked both ports from enforcing portions of their clean-truck programs after finding federal commerce laws would likely preempt the programs (80 DEN A-12, 4/29/09).

Registration Process Established
The settlement between the American Trucking Associations and Long Beach port addresses the preemption issue by establishing a new motor carrier registration process, the port officials said in a written statement.

Instead of the concession agreements, trucking companies would “agree to comply” with the port's “environmental, safety, and security requirements,” port officials said. Only registered trucks would be allowed to perform drayage services at the port.

Under the new system, motor carriers will not be required to submit financial reports, parking plans, driver training records, vehicle maintenance records, and proof of insurance, requirements the court indicated may conflict with federal laws.

Nick Sramek, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, said the new registration system gives the port “the tools to strictly monitor and enforce its Clean Trucks Program.”

American Trucking Associations President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Graves said the organization never objected to the ports' environmental objectives, only to provisions in the concession agreements it believed were “unnecessary.”

“ATA has always strongly supported the environmental objectives of the port and supports strict compliance with and adherence to all safety and security laws and regulations,” he said in a written statement.

Environmental and labor groups and harbor residents, however, were critical of the settlement, saying it jeopardizes efforts to reduce air pollution.

“Rather than clean up the trucks that serve its port, Long Beach ran away from a fight with ATA—an organization that has opposed clean air regulation locally and nationally,” Natural Resources Defense Council attorney David Pettit said in a written statement.

Honor System Employed
The settlement creates an “industry honor system” that allows companies to sign a piece of paper indicating they haul cargo in compliant trucks, NRDC said.
NRDC and the groups it represents contend the concession agreements allow the ports to monitor and enforce the clean-truck programs.

Implemented a year ago, the clean-truck programs are key elements of the San Pedro Ports Clean Air Action plan approved by the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports in 2006. The plan is aimed at cutting diesel emissions by 80 percent over five years.
All pre-1989 diesel trucks are now barred from operating at both ports. Beginning Jan. 1, the ban includes 1993 and older trucks. By 2012, only trucks that meet 2007 federal emissions standard will be allowed to operate at the ports.

Earlier this year, the Federal Maritime Commission asked a federal court to dismiss its lawsuit challenging the ports' clean-trucks program (Federal Maritime Commission v. Los Angeles, D.D.C., No. 08-1895, 7/24/09; 116 DEN A-7, 6/19/09, ).

By Carolyn Whetzel

States Ask Feinstein Not to Exempt Ships In Domestic Waters From Emissions Limits
Representatives of eight Northeastern states and California have written to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) asking her to work to ensure that an Environment Protection Agency proposal to restrict sulfur in fuel and nitrogen oxide emissions from ship engines is not weakened.

EPA published a proposal Aug. 28, 2009 that would require steep reductions in nitrogen emissions from the largest new marine diesel engines and would lower the sulfur content of marine fuel oil (74 Fed. Reg. 44,441).

On Oct. 7, 2009 the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, which advises EPA on air quality, endorsed a recommendation that the agency finalize the emissions limits for oceangoing ships with no exemptions for the Great Lakes or any other areas of the country ( 193 DEN A-13, 10/8/09).

On Oct. 21, 2009 the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management sent a letter to Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, out of concern that Congress might add a rider to an interior and environment appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010 to exempt ships in domestic waters from the emissions restrictions.

“In addition to the negative public health and environmental implications, a special exclusion for vessels predominantly operating in domestic waters sends the wrong message to the international community regarding the U.S. commitment to reduce emissions from ocean going vessels,” Arthur N. Marin, executive director of Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, said in the letter. Marin's group represents air pollution programs in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Mary D. Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, sent Feinstein a similar letter Oct. 7.

The subcommittee, however, has not yet received the rider language. Feinstein's office declined to comment.

Four Marine Companies at the Port of Los Angeles Facing Fines up to $177,500 for Storm Water Violations
EPA has filed administrative complaints against San Pedro Forklift, Marine Technical Services, Eagle Marine Services, Ltd., and American Marine Corporation for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA). All four facilities are tenants of the Port of Los Angeles. The administrative complaints seek penalties against each company of up to $177,500 for alleged storm water violations.
The violations committed by the four firms included:

  • Discharging pollutants in storm water without a storm water permit or not in compliance with a storm water permit;
  • Failing to develop and implement an adequate storm water pollution prevention plan, which identifies sources of industrial storm water pollution and how the firm intends to manage them;
  • Failing to develop a site-specific written monitoring plan; and
  • Failing to use best management practices to prevent and minimize pollutants from entering storm water.

“Marine industries are responsible for managing their operations to protect the harbor and beaches from industrial runoff,” said Alexis Strauss, Water Division director for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “EPA will continue to ensure that facilities hold the proper permits and implement required water pollution control measures.”

Polluted runoff is a major cause of water pollution that can carry pollutants, such as metals, oil and grease, acidic wastewater, bacteria, trash, and other toxic pollutants from industrial sources into nearby water sources. The EPA requires industrial facilities to prevent water pollution by complying with federal and state water pollution requirements.

This action is part of a comprehensive effort to ensure that ports, as well as their tenants, comply with storm water requirements. The EPA and the Los Angeles Regional Quality Control Board conducted a storm water audit of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in May 2007, and issued 20 administrative orders to the Ports’ tenants in November 2007, including these four firms.

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have taken positive steps to address the conclusions of EPA’s audit in their recently approved Water Resources Action Plan (WRAP). The WRAP includes the framework and mechanisms for compliance with storm water permits issued to the Ports, their tenants, and the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The federal CWA requires that municipal and many industrial facilities that discharge pollutants directly from a point source into a waterway obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

EPA has also supported the Ports’ development of a Clean Air Action Plan that seeks to reduce emissions of diesel particulates, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides from port-related sources by nearly 50% by 2011.

Additionally, in a separate notice, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has announced that Eagle Marine Services has been fined $35,625 for air emissions violations during 2007 and 2008.

An ARB investigation showed Eagle Marine failed to properly report its diesel-powered cargo handling equipment fleet at the Port of Oakland and the Port of Los Angeles terminals. The regulation calls for 2006 or older engine serial numbers to be reported to the ARB. Eagle Marine Services reported the equipment numbers as serial numbers. See the ARB’s press release for more information.