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April 15, 2005

Senator Alan Lowenthal, Chair
Senate Committee on Environmental Quality
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: SB 760 (Lowenthal) - Support

Dear Senator Lowenthal:

We are writing as members and supporters Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), to express our support for SB 760 (Lowenthal). E2 is a national organization of business leaders who support environmental policies based on their economic merits. More than 350 of our members reside in California.

As business leaders, we recognize that good environmental policies encourage innovation, discourage waste and prevent pollution costs from being transferred inadvertently to consumers, other companies or the government. SB 760 would levy a $30 per container user fee on each shipping container processed through the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach to be used for mitigation of environmental impacts of container traffic and for security improvements at the port. We strongly support the bill for the following reasons.

This bill properly places the fair share of the costs of pollution on the source. Southern California bears the brunt of the costs associated with pollution for goods that travel well-beyond the borders of California. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach move approximately 40 percent of the nation?s cargo. With this large percentage of the national cargo transport comes staggering pollution. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach alone account for almost one-quarter of the cancer-causing diesel emissions in the entire South Coast Air Basin. This pollution imposes approximately $2.5 billion in externalized health care costs on the region. Under the current system, Southern California and its residents pay for these costs while residents outside the region -- and California -- benefit from cheaper goods from overseas. This bill would insure that the true costs of shipping cargo into the South Coast region are borne by those that benefit from the shipment of goods, and not the local community. Even if shippers choose to pass on this cost to consumers, given that a shipping container will hold thousands of DVD players or Barbie dolls, this fee translates into less than a penny per product.

The bill will allow for implementation of feasible measures to combat pollution, which will protect the health of Californians. The report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Coalition for Clean Air, Harboring Pollution: Strategies to Clean Up U.S. Ports, describes numerous cost-effective mitigation measures that could be implemented to reduce the impacts of port pollution on communities located near the ports. This bill will allow many of these measures to be implemented -- from plugging in ships to cleaning up older trucks servicing the ports -- by providing the necessary funding. This bill follows the excellent model the Governor created in signing AB 923 into law, similarly funding pollution mitigation through fees. Further, given the significant pollution from ports in Southern California, this proposed fee is essential to achieve Governor Schwarzenegger?s goal of a 50% reduction in pollution in California by 2010. Indeed, this critical measure should be expanded to apply to all California ports to protect residents in those regions from harmful pollution, and to help the Governor achieve his statewide goal.

We strongly support SB 760 and other bills currently being offered to reduce pollution from ports, including SB 761 (reduce idling time at ports) and SB 764 (require ?no net increase? in emissions at Southern California ports). SB 760 will protect the public while creating an economically feasible mechanism to address port pollution.

Sincerely,

The following E2 Members have electronically signed this letter:

Jane Cuddehe (New York)
Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Devonshire
Michael Cuddehe (New York)
Principal, Strategic Global Advisors, LLC
Nathan Diemer (California)
Founder and Executive Vice President, DreamHammer, Inc.
Danielle Fern (California)
Jonathan Gordon
Weston Benshoof et al. LLP
Don May
California EarthCorps
Rick Nowels (California)
Tim Sexton (California)
Principal, Make Good Group
Kathleen Unger (California)
Of Counsel, Freeman, Freeman & Smiley
Stephen Unger (California)
Managing Director, KSMU, LLC

10 members

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