Ships visiting Southern California’s bustling ports are poised to become the region’s largest source of smog-causing pollutants in coming years, one reason state regulators want to reduce emissions from thousands more of them.
Air quality officials want to expand the number of ships that, while docked, must either shut down their auxiliary engines and plug into shore power or scrub their exhaust by hooking up to machines known as bonnets or “socks on a stack.”
But some neighbors of the ports say the California Air Resources Board is not moving fast enough to cut a rising source of pollution. Some also fear that the shipping industry and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will use their clout to weaken the proposed restrictions, which the Air Resources Board will decide on in the first half of the year.
“We need relief; it’s just that simple,” said Theral Golden of the West Long Beach Assn., a neighborhood group that has long fought for cleaner air in a community that is among the hardest hit by port pollution.
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