If the Port of Long Beach builds its proposed Middle Harbor facility, shipping lines and terminal operators that use it would have to do a lot more than wipe their feet at the door.

Vessels would have to be able to plug into the electrical grid and turn off their auxiliary diesel engines, and yard equipment would have to operate on the cleanest energy. The reason: As planned, Middle Harbor would be permitted to emit no more than half of current pollution levels.

The 10-year, $750-million project would combine two terminals that are too old, inefficient and dirty to meet the port’s goals for pollution reduction and greater productivity. It would be the second-most-expensive project in the history of the No. 2 container port in the nation, largely because of measures proposed in the face of threatened lawsuits to force Long Beach and the larger port in Los Angeles to clean up emissions tied to higher rates of asthma and cancer.

The environmental impact report on Middle Harbor was released last week and faces a 50-day public comment period.

Experts say the demands being put on the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports today will spread to harbors nationwide in the future, and that the appeal of cheap goods from Asia will be diluted by the high costs of cleaning up the nation’s ports.

Full Story: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-terminal27-2008may27,1,5492395.story