Tell Port of San Diego to STOP DIESEL DEATHS

The Mitsubishi Cement Corporation (MCC) is proposing to build a mega cement warehouse on the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in Barrio Logan. If approved by the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, the MCC warehouse is estimated to increase monthly diesel truck trips by at least 50% adding 2,000 trips and up to as many as 8,700 trips in future years!

Please take action today and tell the Port to protect public health by requiring MCC to use clean electric trucks that reduce diesel air pollution.

Barrio Logan is already at the top 5% for Diesel Particulate Matter (PM), a pollutant that can cause serious health problems such as lung cancer and asthma.

Barrio Logan and National City also have disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 infections – a disease made worse by poor air quality. Our communities don’t need industry and the Port of San Diego to add fuel to the fire, exposing residents to even further risks of health complications.

Take Action

The Port must reject the MCC mega cement warehouse proposal unless the company complies with a clean electric trucks requirement and other measures that protect portside communities from continued exposures to chronic air pollution.


Please sign our petition today!



On Sunday morning July 12, a 3-alarm fire broke out aboard the Navy ship USS Bonhomme Richard docked at Naval Station San Diego, located between Barrio Logan and National City. Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) expresses our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the Navy personnel who were injured and our gratitude to the firefighters and emergency personnel who responded to the immediate threat.

Unfortunately, the protection of public health in the neighboring communities was not a high priority for officials. National City residents report being overwhelmed by the odors in the early afternoon and throughout the day. Many said that they had to leave their homes because of the fumes and because they didn’t have air conditioning that would have enabled them to stay inside with the windows closed because of the heat.

EHC is deeply concerned and outraged that the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) and Health Department were under-prepared to protect public health during a crisis like this. National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis’ statement in English and Spanish warning the public and advising them to stay indoors came at 2:30 PM and was the only statement from an official source for hours.

The Navy spokesperson, Rear Admiral Phillip Sobeck’s assertions that the smoke does not contain toxics is preposterous and inaccurate. Smoke inhalation is hazardous to everyone’s health, especially those who have chronic conditions like respiratory illness or heart disease.

EHC calls for the following actions:

  • The County should immediately update their guidance on social media to effectively warn the public, and especially those with chronic conditions and provide safety information.
  • The County should provide emergency shelter for impacted residents that is cool, smoke-free and COVID-safe
  • The APCD should release air monitoring results immediately
  • The County should develop an emergency monitoring plan in collaboration with the community to implement as soon as a disaster like this occurs.
  • The Navy should release its findings regarding the cause and source of the fire as soon as that information becomes available.

The community deserves to have complete information about the toxins in the fire and how those could harm their health. National City and Barrio Logan are low-income communities of color that already have compromised air quality and are in the top 10% of most polluted neighborhoods in the state. As a result, 3-5 times more children in these communities suffer from asthma and other respiratory illnesses.


Related News Coverage:

  • Smoke from burning Navy ship in San Diego triggers health concerns, pollution monitoring (SDUT)
  • Combaten incendio en el buque USS Bonhomme Richard por segundo día (Noticiasya)
  • Answers on Navy Fire’s Health Impacts Won’t Come Right Away (VOSD)
  • Air Quality Concerns Surround USS Bonhomme Richard Fire (KPBS)

Image credit: Port of San Diego Harbor Police via Twitter



Today, the California Air Resources Board chose health!

CARB heard testimony from over 140 people including: residents, advocates, agencies, and industry from up and down California calling for the Advanced Clean Truck Rule to be adopted.

Included below in this post is testimony from EHC in support of this groundbreaking rule as we continue to advance our call for clean air in San Diego!

What was surprising to me personally, is how much others look to our State for leadership, innovation, and guidance in advancing clean vehicle technology and new economies while protecting communities, moving away from fossil fuels causing severe health impacts from structural inequities in communities of color; and reducing greenhouse gasses affecting climate change.

From New York to Washington State support and partnerships continue to grow. We also applaud the AB 617 Portside Steering Committee for providing a statement of support and noting that these measures will assist our local efforts such as trucks serving cargo terminals at the Port of San Diego.

David Flores
Air Quality Campaign Director
Environmental Health Coalition



Good morning, I am David Flores of Environmental Health Coalition.

Like many of the groups and individuals here today, EHC works in EJ communities that rank very high on CalEnviroScreen and suffer the health and safety impacts of disproportionate truck traffic. EHC supports this rule in its current form and we urge adoption.

In addition to the AB 617 Portside communities of Barrio Logan and west National City, the San Diego region also includes the border area, with its heavy burden of truck traffic from both sides of the border.

Aclima air sampling in 2019 found black carbon levels that, at the high end, correspond to a cancer risk level of over 2000 per million in the Otay Mesa area.

More recently Aclima week-to-week average values in the Portside and Border Communities during the COVID Stay at home order form March 20th to April 24th present a reduction in black carbon during the first 5 weeks, however, levels increased the last two weeks back to pre-COVID levels.

This does correspond with our information about diesel sources that impact our communities:

  • Port cargo volumes were down only a little, or even up in the case of some imports; the shipyards have continued to operate throughout this period, and there is still truck traffic in the AB 617 Portside community.
  • For the Border area in Otay Mesa and San Ysidro: Cross border commercial traffic is considered essential and has been allowed to continue across the border.
  • SANDAG statistics for Commercial truck crossings in 2019 through the state’s 3 commercial POEs (Otay Mesa, Tecate & Calexico East) broke a new record last year, processing more than 1.4 million northbound trucks.
  • Of that 1.4 Million, approximately 800,000 of those crossings were from the Otay Mesa POE truck crossing. Keep in mind, this does not account for the 2 to 5 hours of idling that these trucks spend cued up at the border waiting to cross.

We are already doing everything we can locally to reduce truck impacts. Working with the City of San Diego, the San Diego Air Pollution Control District, and the Port of San Diego, we are:

  • Working with the City to establish and enforce truck routes;
  • Working with the Port to educate truck drivers on the new routes;
  • Working through AB 617 to incentivize cleaner trucks in our communities and land use strategies to create additional solutions to traffic chokepoints and conflicts; and
  • Pursuing an effort of 3 decades to reform the land use plans in these communities to better separate industrial from residential land uses.

However, local efforts cannot compel a faster industrywide shift to electric trucks and away from fossil fuels. We need action at the state level to require zero-emission trucks in California at the earliest possible. CARB should not invest in false solutions such as polluting natural gas trucks, and these should not be considered under ACT and related rules.

EHC supports this rule in its current form and we urge adoption. We want to thank CARB staff for listening to EJ and clean freight advocates and strengthening this rule.



According to the state’s air quality agency, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), some 70% of cancer risks from breathing polluted air in the state are from diesel. In the San Diego region, 90% of diesel emissions are from mobile sources such as heavy-duty trucks. These vehicles are a major source of toxic diesel particulate matter which is linked to cancer, asthma, heart disease, and many other serious health problems.

EJ communities have more diesel in the air and have higher rates of asthma and other conditions linked to diesel exposure. The Barrio Logan and Logan Heights areas rank in the top 5% statewide on the CalenviroScreen diesel indicator.

We need CARB to act now and act strongly. And we need you to send them a strong message.

CARB will vote on a new Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) at their June 25, 2020 meeting. CARB staff is recommending a strong rule that will result in 15% of heavy-duty trucks on the roads by 2033 be zero-emission. EHC and clean freight activists throughout California support these recommendations.

Please urge CARB to adopt the strong ACT rule proposed by staff. There’s two ways you can do this, both remotely:

  1. Join the CARB meeting via a webinar
  2. Register and call into the meeting

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. on June 25, 2020, and there will be Spanish translation.

For more information on participating, please contact EHC Air Quality Director, David Flores:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; (619) 587-5557 (mobile).

Image credit: Port of San Diego


No new shipyards!

Austal USA is proposing to build a major ship repair facility in West National City. If approved by the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, the new shipyard will add a significant new source of air pollution in National City. National City already ranks in the top 95-97 percentiles for diesel particulate matter (PM) in California.

EHC, along with the Ports Tenants Association, Pasha Automotive Services, San Diego Labor Council, and National City residents are demanding the Port of San Diego reject the Austal shipyard proposal and not create more air pollution in our communities.


At their May 19 meeting (tomorrow), the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners will review the Austal proposal. Here is what you can do to send them a strong message to reject the proposed shipyard:

  • Attend the May 19 Board meeting virtually at 1 p.m. – Join the meeting here
  • Email a brief letter with your #nonewshipyard demand today to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Call 619-736-2155 and leave a voicemail message with your demand

Please email and/or call today or before 11 AM on Tuesday May 19, 2020 so the Port Commissioners hear your voice.

The proposed Austal shipyard project would adversely affect the health and well-being of one the most impacted environmental justice communities in the San Diego region – and that’s not all!

Besides worsening air quality in National City, Austal’s operations will use toxic materials and generate hazardous wastes threatening the surrounding communities and San Diego Bay. These include toxic, hazardous, and flammable materials such as lead, zinc, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Please email and/or call the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners today and demand:

  1. No more air pollution – NO NEW SHIPYARDS
  2. Stay the course of reducing emissions!
  3. Implement the air quality strategies promised


Image Source: Wikimedia. Public domain photo by Josiah Poppler