Jan 27, 2010
commented on Port of Seattle CEO Strives to Block Port Reform, Cont'd
I am one of the public information officers for the Port of Seattle, and I'd like to correct some of the inaccurate information in Jake's postings on this issue. I reached out to Jake yesterday and asked for a chance to speak to him about the issue before he posted again, but was not given that opportunity.
First, the proposal before the AAPA Legislative Policy Committee was not a Tay Yoshitani-driven proposal. The chair of the LPC, who oversees Massport, put forth the issue in response to ports across the country who asked for it to be considered. He attended the meeting as the representative for the North Pacific Ports Caucus - there are six caucuses, which represent all ports in North America, including Canada. The group agreed to language that said, in effect, we are strongly committed to the environmental programs that are already in place at our ports and are showing significant success. We do not believe a change in the law is necessary to achieve the strong air quality goals established by each community.
Secondly, the law in question - the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, or F4A, does not have a "loophole" that needs to be closed. The law currently allows states or ports to regulate trucking for safety issues. The proposal is to expand the law so that regulation could occur for security, congestion, and environmental issues as well. The AAPA committee noted that other tools are available to achieve the environmental goals we are pursuing. The Port of Seattle program is succeeding - 42 older trucks have been scrapped to date; truckers are being offered financial assistance through a variety of programs. The Long Beach program is on pace to meet their goals a full two years ahead of schedule - again, under the existing law.
We did not hire a lobbying firm to lobby against this issue. McBee Strategic serves as our federal representative on all federal issues that affect the port; I'm happy to discuss that with Jake further as space doesn't allow it here.
Finally, Mr. Yoshitani is not "fighting against reform." He has championed the port's involvement in the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, an international agreement that is reducing emissions in and around our harbors not just from trucks, but from all forms of equipment needed to move the goods to markets across the U.S. The Port of Seattle's commitment to environmental programs is evident in the multiple effective programs underway throughout our organization, and you can find more information about them at www.portseattle.org.