On Wednesday, the Port of San Diego halted negotiations with a Nevada-based company trying to build a cement warehouse at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
The project will significantly increase diesel truck traffic through the San Diego port community.
Mitsubishi Cement Corporation hopes to move 600,000 metric tons of cement-making materials to a port-owned terminal, place them in warehouses, and truck the materials to construction sites in Southern California.
The project will require 4,000 to 10,000 diesel-powered trucks to move through Barrio Logan and National City while transporting materials to customers in Southern California.
Local residents are outraged by what they call a “super polluter” project. The port lobbied heavily against the plan when it first rejected the proposal in 2020 and when the project resurfaced last year.
More than 800 people sent letters or emails to the port asking the agency to reject the offer.
Diane Takvorian, co-founder of the Environmental Health Coalition, said: “We have more diesel pollution and air pollution in Barrio Logan and National City than California’s 95 percent. % higher.”
Mitsubishi was asked to reshape the plan, which was rejected in 2020, but the new proposal failed to provide a significant emissions-free alternative to the massive diesel truck traffic the project would generate.
The project did not go to a vote in front of the port council, but the public body acknowledged that discussions about moving forward were over.
“I don’t think it’s completely dead,” Tuckervorian said. “But I think they got a very clear statement from the community that they won’t tolerate this level of pollution.”
“What can we do to make sure we’re mitigating our impact and that the community gets something in return for our business operations, so we want to make sure people aren’t being treated unfairly.”
Rafael Castellanos, Chairman of the Port Commission
The project, which still appears on the cement company’s website, promises to repurpose port warehouses, create jobs and establish a local source of cement.
The materials are currently trucked into Southern California from the High Desert or the Port of Long Beach.
Rafael Castellanos, chairman of the port’s board of directors, said Mitsubishi’s business model relied too much on fossil fuel vehicles, while its neighbors near the port did not.
This needs to be reassessed by local agencies.
“Look at what the long-term view is and make decisions differently based on where you want to get to,” Castellanos said. Let’s see if we can achieve our goals.”
The port recently adopted a Sea Clean Air Strategy, which gives the agency a roadmap for zero-emission vehicles on its waterfront. This includes replacing fossil fuel powered vehicles wherever possible.
“What can we do to make sure we’re mitigating our impact and that the community gets something in return for our business operations, so we want to make sure people aren’t being treated unfairly,” Castellanos said.
Castellanos said approving such a massive increase in diesel truck traffic would put the port out of reach for its goal of zero emissions at the facility by 2030.