Port of San Diego advances new clean air, environmental justice initiatives

Posted on February 17, 2021

The Port of San Diego is making significant moves to advance new clean air and environmental justice strategies, according to the company’s release. During its February 11 meeting, the Board of Port Commissioners approved a resolution to support development of the County of San Diego’s Regional Carbon Sustainability Plan, approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The San Diego Foundation focused on climate and coastal resiliency efforts, and received an update from staff on development of the Port’s Maritime Clean Air Strategy (MCAS) to identify and prioritize projects to further reduce emissions and improve air quality on and around San Diego Bay.

The Port has long collaborated with its member cities, the County of San Diego, academia, and others throughout the region to advance climate adaptation initiatives. These latest efforts are in addition to the Port’s Climate Action Plan, Port Master Plan Update and others that establish goals and strategies for reducing the Port’s environmental impacts.

Additional details on the Board’s latest actions:

Maritime Clean Air Strategy

As an extension of the Port’s Climate Action Plan, the Maritime Clean Air Strategy (MCAS) will identify and prioritize projects to further reduce emissions and improve air quality. The MCAS is community-focused with bi-monthly meetings for the exchange of knowledge, ideas and goal setting. The MCAS is also intended to help clarify the role the Port can play in supporting the Port’s maritime tenants and terminal operators with transitioning to zero and near-zero technologies. Recent maritime efforts include the demonstration of electric trucks and cargo handling equipment at both of the Port’s terminals, shore power at cruise and cargo terminals, and a designated truck route to keep commercial trucks out of Barrio Logan neighborhoods. The MCAS and the AB 617 Community Emission Reduction Program are complimentary efforts, and each informs and supports one another. Port staff anticipates presenting a final draft of the MCAS for the Board’s consideration in the spring. For more information, read the February 11 staff report here.

Regional Carbon Sustainability Plan

On January 27, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to develop a framework to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2035, ten years before the State of California’s carbon neutrality goal. The Regional Carbon Sustainability Plan is the first of its kind for the region and will be developed in partnership with the University of California, San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy. The Port is one of many agencies in the region set to collaborate and support the plan that could make San Diego the largest county in the U.S. to commit to achieving such a goal by 2035. As a stakeholder, Port staff will contribute by providing information on sources of emissions that are unique to the Port such as goods movement vessels, vehicles and equipment.

“The Port’s contributions to the development of the Regional Carbon Sustainability Plan will be essential as there are important industries that only exist on the San Diego bayfront,” said Vice Chair Nora Vargas, San Diego County Board of Supervisors, who crafted the plan along with Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer and whose district includes much of the San Diego Bay waterfront. “This policy, developed in collaboration with the Port and other agencies, will incorporate strategies tailored to the region to achieve zero carbon in key sectors including energy, transportation and land use. These strategies will help to reduce the burden on low income communities, especially communities of color, while also providing good-paying jobs building the infrastructure that will propel the region into the future.”

Memorandum of Understanding with The San Diego Foundation

The Port and The San Diego Foundation have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to advance a collaborative partnership to explore opportunities for program alignment and investment to support coastal access, climate initiatives and coastal resiliency, environmental conservation and stewardship, environmental justice, and a thriving, sustainable waterfront.

The San Diego Foundation has been an active participant on the Port’s Environmental Advisory Committee since its inception in 2006. In addition, the Port and The Foundation have long worked together to improve quality of life in the region and provide public benefits through various projects including the creation of Ruocco Park, the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge Lighting project, the Port with No Borders Scholarship Fund, and a climate initiative called “San Diego, 2050 is Calling.”

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.


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