Los Angeles Times reports that prior to her announced selection as Senator McCain's running partner, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin sent a letter to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, stating her opposition to a California bill designed to improve air quality in and around major California ports. California ports manage vast numbers of cargo containers, some of which are redistributed from California to Alaska.
Palin's missive attacks Senate Bill 974, which has been approved by the state Legislature but needs Schwarzenegger's signature to become law...The bill would create a $60 fee for each 40-foot cargo container moving through the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland, which together handle more than 40% of the nation's goods.Via LAT, Palin asks Schwarzenegger to veto fees aimed at cutting pollution at California ports Image credit::Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times "A container ship sits idle at the Port of Los Angeles."The Air Quality Impact Of Port Activities Is Serious
California has serious regional air quality problems to overcome; and, the material handling equipment and ships at major ports traditionally emit huge amounts of diesel exhaust. Impacts of that exhaust are not only occupational. Port emissions disperse to surrounding communities, where they can limit the expansion of other industries. When air quality is regionally bad, other industries wishing to expand in the future are limited in those plans by legally-permitted pollutant discharge caps - put in place to protect human health and safety.
Studies have demonstrated adverse human health impacts of California Air Quality.
"We are losing about 3,400 Californians each year because of pollution," Lowenthal said. "No matter what Gov. Palin would like to see happen, the impact is killing Californians. I don't think Gov. Palin truly understands the impacts going on here."The per-container fee would raise money to fund air quality improving measures: hybrid and electric material handling equipment at the ports, for example.
The False Choice Of Protecting Health Versus Consumer Costs
Did Governor Palin weigh the health and welfare of California workers and citizens in her decision to oppose the California measure? Whether yes, or no, matters little. Balancing human safety in California against cost of living in Alaska is a completely false choice.
Healthier port workers are more productive workers, with less time off. Healthier workers claim fewer health care benefits from employers.
Healthier families in surrounding communities expend less on health care, whether from employee funded benefits, or from taxpayers (via emergency room visits).
The measure could end up saving money for port operators, the State, and, indirectly, for Alaskans.
And, the measure makes a contribution to curtailing C02 emissions.
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