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The 2016 Environmental Stewardship Story

Among the many beneficial outcomes of development and growth at the Port of Oakland are innovative environmental benefits. Port leadership has aligned development and industrial activity with creative environmental solutions to support the Port’s environmental stewardship goals. This approach, while working closely with business partners, the community and state and local regulatory agencies, is creating opportunities to “green” the Port’s business and serve as a unique industry model for how to operate a sustainable seaport.

For example, the Port invested $60 million in a multi-year project to construct a first-of-its-kind shore power grid on the docks so that ships use electric power at berth rather than relying on auxiliary diesel engines to provide power to their on-board mechanical systems. The Port also operates its own electric utility, and almost half the power the Port provides its customers is greenhouse-gas-free and includes locally-sourced renewable energy from the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) wastewater treatment plant at the foot of the Bay Bridge. Additionally, the Port invested in development of a mobile phone app measuring harbor trucker wait times, promoting efficiency, improving wait times for truckers, and leading to less truck idling.

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Why are these projects important? They demonstrate how business growth and operational challenges catalyze solutions that enhance environmental quality.

The Port of Oakland oversees nearly 3,600 acres of waterfront encompassing an airport, seaport, commercial real estate, parks and wetlands. The Port has numerous tenants and business partners located on its property and serves as a steward of these lands for the people of California.

In fall 2016, elected officials, government agencies and community advocates joined Port officials to celebrate the key findings of an Oakland Seaport emissions inventory completed in 2016. The results? A 76 percent reduction in overall diesel emissions, a 75 percent decline in ship diesel emissions and a 98 percent plunge in truck diesel emissions from 2005 to 2015. These results demonstrate that the Port, in collaboration with its partners, is advancing its 2008 commitment to reduce seaport-related diesel health risk by 85 percent by the year 2020.

Projects that cut air pollution at the Seaport and contributed to a healthier community included the shore power program, shipping lines switching to cleaner burning, low sulfur fuel, and the Port banning trucks that aren’t compliant with statewide emissions regulations. The work and investments by the Port and its partners have nearly eliminated Port truck diesel emissions and had an extra benefit of greatly reducing other emissions like greenhouse gases.

In 2016 the Port of Oakland also stepped up its focus on preventing storm water pollution. As a major property owner managing acres of terminals, the Port established environmental standards and educated its partners on how to prevent runoff that could be harmful to surface waters. Port staff oversaw the design and publication of the Port Post-Construction Controls Manual, conducted outreach with Port staff and tenants on how to prevent pollutants from reaching San Francisco Bay, inspected tenant operations, and conducted sampling to ensure compliance with regulations.

Port staff is also working on a revised Comprehensive Truck Management Plan (CTMP) that includes adding truck parking on Port land to help keep drayage trucks out of adjacent neighborhoods and to further reduce the local community’s exposure to truck emissions.

Port staff conducted the clean-up and remediation tasks required for the Seaport Logistics Complex and expansion of the TraPac terminal, which in turn support more efficient operations, future jobs and business opportunities. Staff also developed environmental measures to be implemented in a lease agreement connected to the construction of the logistics complex.

These redevelopment construction projects present an opportunity to clean up historic sub-surface contamination that otherwise might remain untouched. Port staff provides on-going monitoring, oversight, and environmental reviews needed for remediation at the former army base.

The Port extended its renewable energy Power Purchase Agreement with EBMUD for five more years. All of the energy purchased from EBMUD is greenhouse gas-free.

While growing its business, the Port of Oakland will continue to aspire to the highest levels of environmental management and stewardship. In 2017, the Port will continue to pursue innovation in its Maritime Air Quality Improvement Program and its storm water compliance, renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction programs.