State and discuss your opinion regarding whether or not the planning staff considered the air emission exposure problem “out of context”?
Plans are in place for the expansion and modernization of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are located side-by-side in Southern California. These are the nation’s two largest ports which serve much of the western half of the nation. Despite their existing size, port expansion and modernization are needed to meet increasing cargo demand and to accommodate larger modern shipping vessels. Currently, the two ports combined are the largest source of air pollution in the greater Los Angeles area. High concentrations of exhaust and particulate matter are emitted daily from diesel ships and the transportation trucks driving to and from the port property. The 30,000 daily cargo trucks that haul the shipping containers to and from the ports contribute a significant amount of air pollutants along the freeways and streets in the local area and throughout Southern California. Published studies show significant association between particulate matter and heart problems and higher cancer rates in adults (AQMD, 2000). Particulate matter also exacerbates asthma in children and may be associated with many other health problems. The planning staff provided the City Council a report which found that the port expansion would contribute minimal to insignificant amounts of air pollution beyond current levels. The report stated the plan would offset any increase in emissions with greener alternative fuels and shorter idling times for ships due to increased efficiency. The staff generated a Risk Assessment model to demonstrate the limited impacts the port expansion would have on local air quality. The report and risk model analyzed air pollution that would be generated on the port property Local citizen groups who will be impacted by the port expansion strongly oppose the port expansion plan. They claim the City Council was overly impressed with scientific studies, and did not understand the limitations of the Risk Assessment model. They are concerned that exposure assessments were based on invalidated mathematical models which used too many assumptions about population’s exposure. They are concerned about the potential increase in local air pollution from the larger diesel-powered ships combined with the increased truck traffic associated with the larger port. The citizen groups insist that any analysis of air emissions attributed to the ports should consider total emissions, and not only air emissions attributed to the proposed port expansion. The citizen groups argue that the planning staff conveniently presented their position on air emissions “out of context.” State and discuss your opinion regarding whether or not the planning staff considered the air emission exposure problem “out of context”? (Remember what it means for an exposure problem to be “out of context”. You should explain this term first so you’re able to put your response in the proper context.) Discuss who should take the lead to adequately respond to this problem. Do you think that the planning staff of the harbor or port can adequately respond to this problem? Should the local or state health department (Health Officer) take the lead role when responding to this issue? Discuss the importance of engaging and understanding the position of the various stakeholders in this case. Discuss the “public comment” phase of a development and some of the benefits that can occur by allowing stakeholders to participate. Discuss the uses and limitations of risk assessments for risk management decision making. Should all exposure assessments be based only on validated models? (Support your response with appropriate references.) How would you determine if the assumptions made about the population’s exposure are valid? Sources: South Coast AQMD (2000). Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study in the South Coast Air Basin (MATES-II).