An ambitious new blueprint by the California Air Resources Board
for reducing port pollution statewide would cut emissions from cruise and cargo ships visiting San Diego by 88 percent during the next 15 years, as part of an effort to address the health risks posed by rapidly expanding port activities. The plan, approved by the air board at a meeting in Long Beach last week, also estimated that premature deaths due to port-related pollution in San Diego County would
increase from 150 in 2005 to 200 in 2020 if no action is taken. Even with the new strategies outlined by the agency's staff in place, the premature death toll in San Diego County would stand at 80 in 2020.
The statewide cost of meeting the plan's goals, $6 billion to $10 billion, would be borne primarily by the “goods-movement” industry – as shipping lines, cargo-terminal operators, trucking companies and railroads are collectively known – Air Resources Board officials
said. The plan is a key building block of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
's effort to expand the state's highways and other infrastructure to accommodate the booming goods-movement industry, which contributes $200 billion annually to California
's economy and is expected to handle three times the current volume of freight by 2020, most of it from Asia
, according to state officials. (Source: San Diego Union Tribune)