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Environment

Navy, Port agreement expected to cut pollution along San Diego's waterfront

A first-of-its-kind partnership between the Navy and the Port of San Diego will give the Navy access to California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard market. KPBS reporter John Carroll explains why that may help a lot in cleaning up San Diego’s working waterfront.

It’s a part of San Diego that, unless you work there, you probably don’t think about. But San Diego’s working waterfront is a critical part of the local economy, and a major player is the United States Navy.

On Tuesday, the Navy and the Port of San Diego signed off on a first-of-its-kind partnership that may help a lot in cleaning up San Diego’s working waterfront.

“We are here today to celebrate an innovative federal, state and local initiative that will provide millions of dollars for electrification projects for both Naval Base San Diego and the Port of San Diego," said Dan Malcolm, chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners.

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John Carroll
San Diego Board of Port Commissioners Chairman Dan Malcolm delivers remarks at a signing ceremony in Cesar Chavez Park on September 20, 2022.

The Navy will now participate in a cap-and-trade type of program where it will generate credits by changing how it powers its fleet while in port. It will switch to using much more shore power, rather than power generated by carbon intense methods on board its ships.

One credit is equal to one metric ton of carbon dioxide that won’t go into the atmosphere. The Port of San Diego then monetizes those credits through a broker.

“The funding we generate will enable us to buy new electric equipment, as well as invest in our respective infrastructure backbones to enable our electrification efforts to move forward to the next level," Malcolm said.

The Port has already been moving in that direction. On display at the signing ceremony were an electric truck, and a huge $1.5 million electric-powered loader.

We’re learning more about sources of pollution from the Port of San Diego that’s affecting people’s health. Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccines have now been approved for children under five years old and parents are looking for appointments to get their children protected. Also, San Diego’s street vendors are facing new and controversial regulations.

After remarks from other dignitaries, the agreement was signed by Assistant Secretary for Energy, Installations and Environment Meredith Berger, Commander of the Navy Region Southwest Rear Admiral Brad Rosen and Port of San Diego President & CEO Joe Stuyvesant.

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John Carroll
Commander of the Navy Region Southwest Rear Admiral Brad Rosen is shown signing a new agreement between the Navy and the Port of San Diego at Cesar Chavez Park on September 20, 2022.

The agreement was signed in Cesar Chavez Park, which is in Barrio Logan. District 80 Assembly member David Alvarez talked about what a great day was for waterfront communities like his that have suffered with pollution for generations.

“Today I’m here joyfully, Madame Secretary, because the federal government now wants to participate in this as well, and that to me is really significant," Alvarez said.

A significant day — especially for people who live right next door to the working waterfront who can now look forward to living in a cleaner environment.

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