Reps. Lowenthal, Barragán Call On House Speaker To Retain Critical Emissions Reduction Funding In Build Back Better Package

October 22, 2021
Press Release

In light of recent surges in cargo volumes through the neighboring ports of Long Beach (POLB) and Los Angeles (POLA), today Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (CA-44), called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to retain critical components of the Build Back Better (BBB) Act that would help address the environmental impact of the goods movement industry, as well as their impact on vulnerable communities nationwide.

In a letter to the Speaker detailing more than $23 billion in nationwide emission reductions programs  in the BBB, the Members wrote, “…sweeping, long term investments in emissions reduction are needed to protect the communities which are exposed to the environmental impacts of port activity.”

Lowenthal, who represents POLB, and Barragán who represents POLA, highlight in the letter that the LA/LB ports together are the busiest container port complex in the Western Hemisphere, and that through August, POLA has moved 30 percent more and POLB over 20 percent more containers compared to the previous year.

“While the efficient flow of goods is essential for American businesses and consumers alike,” the Members wrote, “this increase in traffic has undeniable impacts on frontline communities which we are proud to represent. We are particularly concerned by findings that emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) are roughly 40 percent higher than 2019 levels.”

The programs in the BBB cited by the Members in the letter include:

  • $3.5 billion in grants for the purchase and installation of zero-emission technology at ports.
  • $2.5 billion to support supply chain resilience, reduce congestion, and reduce the environmental impact of ports.
  • $5 billion to replace heavy vehicles with zero emission vehicles.
  • $6 billion for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicle supply equipment and shipside or shoreside electrification for equipment at ports.
  • $5 billion in block grants for community led projects to address disproportionate environmental and public health harms related to climate change.
  • $170 million for Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants, with $100 million specifically targeting goods movement facilities, and $20 million prioritized to disadvantaged and low-income communities.
  • $100 million to support investments in research and development of new and emerging technologies to reduce carbon emissions, reduce vessel noise pollution, and improve the climate resiliency of the marine shipping and maritime industry.

The Members conclude reiterating the criticality of the BBB programs in the letter in dealing with emissions reduction, “In the face of the climate crisis, and unprecedented conditions impacting vulnerable communities, we cannot afford inaction.”

Click here to read a full version of the letter.