With a vote of 8-0, the Long Beach City Council voted to undertake an appeal to the L.A. City Council in regards to the building of the Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) project. Council Woman Suja Lowenthal was absent.
In addition, three of the largest community and environmental groups associated with criticizing the project–the East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, the Coalition for Clean Air, and the Natural Resources Defense Council–are appealing the certification by the Port of LA Board of Harbor Commissioner’s approval of the FEIR submitted for the projected.
“This is a terrible project premised on the misconception that minority communities can shoulder the pollution burden of our region,” said David Petitt, the Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, who headed the letter directed towards the LA City Council.
According to many critics of the project, many false charges fill the FEIR, including the property being adjacent to multiple neighborhood resources such as schools, senior housing, and cultural enclaves.
The letter goes on to charge that the Board of Harbor Commissioners violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); that the EIR was falsely represented; there is a lack of substantiation regarding the problems this area will face with the building of SCIG; and that the EIR failed to comply with CEQA standards by properly responding to concerns generated within the public comment period.
In addition to these charges, which are supported by appendices loaded with multiple documents, emails, and other forms of evidence, the groups specifically single out Councilmember Joe Buscaino. They ask the council to exclude Buscaino–who has been openly supportive of the project–from being involved in the decision-making process on any level. The letter alleges a prejudice on Buscaino’s behalf, citing a video posted on January 31 of this year as proof.
“These families live next to the busiest port complex in our nation, yet the Port of Los Angeles does not believe it is accountable to reduce the significant health burden this project will place on the harbor community,” Petitt said. “We will fight to protect the community and the environment from preventable diesel pollution and have already offered a number of solutions that will generate good, local jobs without harming residents.”