Dockworkers’ union pressures seaports to cut emissions

Sittin’ on the dock of the bay, gettin’ lung cancer … wait, that’s not how the song goes? Tell it to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, representing 60,000 dockworkers on the West Coast, which this week is kicking off a campaign to pressure ports and shipowners to cut diesel emissions. The massive seaports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., take in about 40 percent of the nation’s cargo and together are the single largest source of air pollution in SoCal; a study last year showed that diesel fumes from the two ports raised cancer risk in populations up to 15 miles inland. Shockingly, ships are largely immune from U.S. environmental laws. The union is urging a 20 percent reduction in emissions by 2010 for all diesel-fueled ships docking at West Coast ports, and its size and clout could help push such an initiative through. Yo ho ho!