Coalition for Healthy Ports NY NJ

By Jenny Vickers

Clean Water Action is playing a pivotal role as chair the Coalition for Healthy Ports (CHP), a broad coalition of environmental, labor, faith, community, environmental justice and business organizations that seek to create sustainable ports in New York and New Jersey.

We are also a leading member of the Moving Forward Network, a coalition of environmental groups across the country, in calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean our air, protect our planet from global climate change and advance environmental justice by reducing air pollution and promoting zero emissions technologies at every port, rail yard, distribution center and busy truck corridor across the country. Our policy recommendations include:

  • Use gubernatorial powers to move the Port Authority of NYNJ towards zero emissions more aggressively; promote “zero emission zones” where electrification of trucks, equipment and warehouses are mandated both at the port and in port adjacent communities where goods movement and operations are concentrated.
  • Adopt and implement mandatory emission reductions in air, water, energy, and solid waste in overburdened EJ communities, transportation corridors and port regions.
  • Issue executive order or other means to require the retrofitting with emission controls, engine upgrades, repowering and/or electrification of diesel equipment used under state contracts to reduce air pollution impacts for impacted communities and workers.

Coalition for Healthy Ports

Ports in the United States represent the largest piece of a complex logistics industry that also includes a growing number of warehouse and distribution centers and light industrial manufacturing and service related industries.

Our mission is to improve the air quality, safety and security as well as the working conditions for all workers that support port commerce and to assure environmental justice and prevent harm in affected communities. The Coalition recognizes that the ports are an economic driver for the entire region and a major component in the global economy. We believe that maintaining environmental, labor and community standards will enhance the port's position and will enhance growth. As with much of the nation's infrastructure, our ports face an economic, social and environmental justice crisis:

  • Heavy congestion and harmful emissions damage our air quality and the health of our communities and workforce;
  • While our ports generate essential economic activity, they operate with a cost to surrounding communities and the natural environment;
  • Many workers in the ports and port-related industries do not have living wages and benefits, a safe work environment or the right to organize;
  • In a complex, modern society, the traffic and commerce at ports makes them vulnerable to security breaches which require unprecedented attention and resources to ensure surrounding communities are safe.

Moving Forward Network

We have joined the Moving Forward Network, a coalition of environmental groups across the country, in calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean our air, protect our planet from global climate change and advance environmental justice by reducing air pollution and promoting zero emissions technologies at every port, rail yard, distribution center and busy truck corridor across the country.

Diesel emissions are linked to asthma, cancer, and other health disorders, causing 21,000 premature deaths each year. Families that live by busy diesel truck corridors and port communities are often hit the hardest. It's time to demand #ZeroEmissionsNow! 

The U.S. EPA must require port and freight facilities to meet clean air standards so that their deadly diesel emissions - causing asthma, lung cancer, heart disease, strokes, and neurological disorders - are eliminated. Zero emissions technology exists to make this possible. 

    What We Stand For:

    I. Clean Air: Our ports must work to significantly reduce their diesel emissions from ships, tugboats, yard equipment, cranes, trucks, and railroads.

    II. Community Economic Development: Governments and public authorities in the region must ensure that residents and businesses in the surrounding communities benefit from the overall economic activity of the ports through employment, training and educational opportunities.

    III. Employment Standards: All workers must have access to a living wage, safe and healthy working conditions, health and pension benefits, and the protection and enforcement of applicable federal and state labor laws, including the freedom of association.

    IV. Improved National Security: The ports must work in concert with all levels of government to hold all stakeholders and industry leaders accountable on security standards to ensure that the Ports of New York and New Jersey and our nation are protected from terrorist and other threats.

    V. Accountability to the Community: All companies operating within the ports must live up to legal, ethical and moral standards for clean air, living wages and benefits, and good jobs for port community residents. Governments and public authorities in the region must create a democratic forum for additional input and local collaboration that allows all stakeholders, including area residents, to have a voice in setting port standards, development, expansion and mitigating measures.

    VI. Modernized Port Trucking: Governments and public authorities in the region must reform and modernize the port trucking industry, in order to achieve cleaner air, safer working conditions and living wages and benefits for port communities. Reform measures would include: mordernizing or retiring old highly-polluting trucks, provide living wage, health and other benefits to the truckers, reduce labor turnover, job vacancies, traffic nightmares, uncertain freight delivery, excessive accidents and breakdowns, enhance communication systems and technology, and enforce labor laws, environmental regulations, and traffic ordinances.

    If we take these measures in a proactive manner, we will reduce negative health impacts, improve air quality, alieviate environmental injustices, revitalize urban economies, create more living wage jobs, improve working conditions and ensure that the port's growth will benefit all residents of the region in a fair and just way.

    Journalists and Reporters - Media Materials

    Your Voice Matters - Will You Join Us?

    Clean Water Action is ready to work with port stakeholders on the improvements we need to create sustainable, livable communities. Your input is vital. To learn more or get involved in this important joint effort contact Amy Goldsmith at agoldsmith@cleanwater.org.

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