Mitsubishi renews push for port warehouse that would triple diesel vehicles in Barrio Logan


Mitsubishi Cement Corp. has revived its almost decade-long marketing campaign to construct a warehouse on the Port of San Diego, which might dramatically enhance diesel truck site visitors in Barrio Logan. The corporate now seems poised to carry ahead an up to date imaginative and prescient, just lately peppering the neighborhood with mailers.

The port’s Board of Commissioners put the proposal on maintain in late 2020, fearing it will unfairly burden the neighborhood, which already suffers from a number of the worst asthma- and cancer-causing air air pollution within the state.

Slightly, the seven-member board directed the corporate and company employees to draft strict necessities for incorporating electrical or different zero-emission vehicles into the proposal.

Port officers urged this week that such a blueprint is close to completion however wouldn’t present specifics.

“Mitsubishi and the port employees are in discussions to section in using zero-emission vehicles and different emissions-reduction methods to cut back air high quality and greenhouse gasoline emission impacts,” the company mentioned in a electronic mail Tuesday.

A big semi truck hauling items, drives alongside Harbor Drive and Cesar E. Chavez Parkway in Barrio Logan in 2020.

(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Group advocates and at the least one port commissioner expressed fears that Mitsubishi would possibly attempt to duck the duty.

The Union-Tribune reached out to a number of commissioners for remark, together with Chair Dan Malcolm and Vice Chair Rafael Castellanos. Company employees responded saying that its governing board wouldn’t be commenting on the problem at the moment.

Commissioner Mike Zucchet, who additionally works as the final supervisor of the San Diego Municipal Workers Affiliation, spoke out regardless of the company’s response. He mentioned he’s pissed off that extra progress hasn’t been made.

“After two years there doesn’t appear there’s a particular, dedicated plan to cut back diesel truck journeys by portside neighborhoods, and that was the particular path,” he mentioned. “I really feel like there’s simply different worlds happening right here, and perhaps there’s about to be a conflict.”

Officers with the cement enterprise mentioned a dedication to electrification is forthcoming. They’re hoping the fee will rethink the warehouse proposal at its Nov. 8 public listening to.

“Our venture addresses diesel truck emissions … with the essential worth of offering jobs and native entry to cement, a elementary constructing commodity that presently is primarily accessed by being trucked in from the excessive desert or the Port of Lengthy Seashore,” Mitsubishi mentioned in an electronic mail assertion Wednesday.

Whereas Mitsubishi and the port have but to launch any new particulars on their technique for curbing truck air pollution, the Nevada-based company has in latest weeks mailed fliers to Barrio Logan residents, saying the venture would create jobs and “scale back truck journey throughout the area.”

The shiny playing cards learn: “MCC has a shared imaginative and prescient with the neighborhood and the Port of San Diego to cut back dangerous air emissions in Barrio Logan.” Additionally they mentioned an info sales space could be out there at a Halloween gathering at Chicano Park on Saturday, Oct. 29.

The corporate — a part of the company household that owns Mitsubishi Motors — has lengthy sought to construct a warehouse and hauling facility on the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal, which might be serviced by as much as 296 new diesel truck journeys a day. The venture, which might distribute as much as 600,000 metric tons of cement a yr, may triple the terminal’s present truck site visitors.

Barrio Logan has been plagued for many years by massive, rumbling freight vehicles coming and going from the port. Huge cargo ships can even belch air pollution whereas they unload containers. Residents lament the sticky black grime that covers home windows and kitchen tables from myriad sources.

Air pollution from diesel engines, similar to these utilized in boats, cranes and vehicles, contributes to wonderful particulate matter, referred to as PM2.5, which when inhaled exacerbates situations similar to bronchial asthma and coronary heart illness. The tiny particles lodge deep in an individual’s lungs, even their bloodstream.

In response to neighborhood considerations, the San Diego Metropolis Council a number of years in the past banned heavy responsibility vehicles on sure residential streets within the portside neighborhood. Nonetheless, enforcement has been spotty at finest.

A large truck turns on to Newton street in the Barrio Logan on Wednesday, August 27 , 2019.

A big truck activates to Newton avenue within the Barrio Logan on Wednesday, August 27 , 2019, even if it’s posted for no automobiles over 5 tons allowed.

(John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A Union-Tribune evaluation of knowledge from the San Diego Air Air pollution Management District final yr discovered that heavy responsibility vehicles accounted for about 17 p.c of diesel air pollution in Barrio Logan. Greater than 75 p.c of such emissions got here from harbor craft and oceangoing vessels in addition to cargo-handling and building tools. Passenger automobiles, buses and trains contributed simply 4 p.c.

Native nonprofit Environmental Well being Coalition has fought Mitsubishi’s warehouse venture, demanding it embrace an aggressive timeline for adopting electrical vehicles. Advocates have identified that final yr the port adopted a goal for its terminals to be serviced by one hundred pc zero-emission cargo vehicles by 2030.

“This proposal would utterly get rid of the potential for attaining that objective and would enhance childhood bronchial asthma, already greater than 3 times higher than the county common,” mentioned Diane Takvorian, the coalition’s govt director.

The port’s personal earlier environmental evaluation of the venture discovered that it will “end in direct vital environmental results with respect to air high quality and well being danger, greenhouse gasoline emissions, hazards and unsafe supplies, noise and vibration, and transportation, circulation, and parking.”

Nonetheless, the companies mentioned that the financial advantages outweigh these adverse impacts, together with the creation of 52 full-time jobs.

The state has more and more ramped up efforts to affect freight vehicles and passenger automobiles lately. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an govt order final yr calling for all new automobiles bought within the state to be zero-emission by 2035.

Greater than half of all heavy responsibility vehicles bought in California should even be zero-emission automobiles by 2035, based on a landmark rule accredited by state air regulators in 2020.

Volvo has boasted that it’s going to solely promote “fossil free” vehicles by 2040, with Daimler Truck setting the same objective. Nonetheless, behind-the-scenes trade lobbyists have reportedly been working to decelerate federal and state rules concentrating on such car emissions.

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