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General Press Releases

“Health Equity for All” Vision Set for Maritime Clean Air Strategy

Draft Revised MCAS Released for Public Review & Feedback

With a newly established vision, “Health Equity for All,” representing the Port’s commitment to environmental justice and other changes made in response to feedback from the public and a broad range of stakeholders, the Port of San Diego invites the public to review and provide input on the Draft Revised Maritime Clean Air Strategy (MCAS). The transformational policy document will help the Port identify future projects and initiatives to improve health through cleaner air for all who live, work, and play on and around San Diego Bay while also supporting efficient and modern maritime operations.

Extensive community and stakeholder involvement is the cornerstone of the MCAS. Collaboration with community residents, industry, businesses, public agencies, and non-government organizations helped produce the goals and objectives identified in the MCAS Discussion Draft issued for public review and feedback in March 2021. With changes made based on that feedback and direction by the Board of Port Commissioners (Board), the Port is seeking additional community and stakeholder feedback.

To review the Draft Revised MCAS, go to Written feedback will be accepted via email to through Friday, September 3, 2021. During the review period, the public is also invited to participate in an MCAS Virtual Update on Thursday, August 26, 2021 at 5:30 p.m. Click here to register for the public meeting.

As an update to the Port’s 2007 Clean Air Program, the MCAS identifies a vision centered on health equity, with ambitious goals for 2030 that will contribute to improved air quality. In support of the 2030 goals, the MCAS establishes more specific, near-term emissions reduction goals and objectives to be accomplished within the next five-year period between 2021 and June 30, 2026. Collectively, in conjunction with the near-term goals and objectives, the MCAS identifies approximately 34 potential projects, partnerships, initiatives, and/or studies.

Nearly ALL of the Draft Revised MCAS goals and/or objectives go beyond State requirements. Highlights include:

  • 100 percent of cargo trucks calling on the Port of San Diego cargo maritime terminals will be zero emissions (ZE) vehicles by 2030, far exceeding State requirements by five years, and in some cases, even more. (An Executive Order of the Governor identifies goals for ZE short-haul/drayage trucks by 2035, with full transition to ZE heavy duty long-haul trucks by 2045.)
    • 20 percent of the Port’s annual cargo truck trips will be performed by ZE trucks by June 30, 2026.
  • A truck registry or other system to summarize annual truck trips to the Port’s marine cargo terminals and measure progress to achieve Port goals. (State does not currently have a truck registry or similar requirement.)
  • 100 percent of cargo handling equipment will be ZE by 2030. (An Executive Order of the Governor calls for full transition of cargo handling equipment to ZE by 2035 where feasible.)
  • Facilitate implementation of the first all-electric tugboat in the United States by June 30, 2026. The electric tug will replace one that consumes more than 30,000 gallons of diesel per year. The eTug will help reduce Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) emissions by transitioning to ZE/near-zero emission technologies and/or other lower-emitting engines or alternative fuels. (State does not currently have any requirements for electric tugboats.)
  • Work collaboratively with the San Diego Air Pollution Control District (SDAPCD) on the SDAPCD’s Portside Air Quality Improvement and Relief (PAIR) program, including pursuing a Memorandum of Understanding with the SDAPCD to contribute Port Maritime Industrial Impact Fund dollars for the SDAPCD’s purchase and installation of new portable air filtration devices at participating Portside Community residences. (State does not currently have any requirements for residential air filtration in Portside Communities.)

Other notable clean air projects in the works that would aid in the achievement of the MCAS goals include doubling shore power for cruise ships by 2023 and adding shore power or an alternative technology to reduce ocean-going emissions at berth at the National City Marine Terminal by 2025 in alignment with State requirements.

In addition to cleaner air, other benefits of reducing emissions include improved health, job creation, ambient noise reduction, urban greening, ecosystem enhancement, knowledge and capacity building, education and training, and improved access to San Diego Bay.

The document is structured and organized to address goals and objectives for the following seven emissions sources and three stakeholder-driven priorities:

  • Emission Sources:
    1. Cargo Handling Equipment
    2. Commercial Harbor Craft
    3. Shipyards
    4. Heavy Duty Trucks
    5. Port of San Diego Fleet
    6. Oceangoing vessels
    7. Rail
  • Stakeholder-Driven Priorities:
    1. Community Enrichment
    2. Public Health
    3. Enabling

Next Steps
Port staff anticipates returning to the Board in October to summarize feedback from this current public review period and to seek approval of the final MCAS document.

The Port intends to support timely and cost-effective implementation of the various projects and initiatives identified in the MCAS. Funding could come from multiple sources, including the Port. The Port intends to work with neighboring jurisdictions, partners, and tenants to identify funding and to collaborate on seeking state and federal grants.

For more than a decade, the Port of San Diego has been deploying clean air investments and new technologies, based on plans like the Clean Air Plan (2007), Climate Action Plan (2013), and the Final Environmental Impact Report for Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal (TAMT) Redevelopment Plan and corresponding TAMT Redevelopment Plan (2016). These plans provided ideas, guidance, and other measures for improving overall air quality and alleviating the environmental burden on surrounding communities. These efforts have steadily increased over the years, with continued investments in solar panels and shore power, and expanding to mobile charging stations and other emerging technology like a microgrid at TAMT. San Diego Port tenants have also been early adopters of new technologies to reduce emissions. In 2016, the San Diego Port Tenant’s Association received funding to demonstrate and deploy a wide range of zero emission (ZE) trucks and cargo handling equipment. These efforts have established a solid foundation to position the Port to advance the next level of clean air investments to help chart the course for further investment in and around the Port’s tidelands.

Despite these advancements, Portside Community residents continue to suffer a disproportionate burden of environmental afflictions, including air pollution, and more needs to be done to reduce these impacts. The Portside Community is predominately downwind from industrialized, waterfront uses and activities and includes Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and Sherman Heights in the City of San Diego, and West National City in the City of National City. The confluence of freeway traffic and industrial uses occurring within and adjacent to the Portside Community, and activity from the U.S. Navy and the Port all generate emissions, that contribute to high levels of diesel particulate matter and other toxic air pollutants within these communities. In fact, the 12 census tracts that make up the Portside Community rank as having some of the highest diesel particulate matter exposure risk (95th percentile per CalEnviroScreen 3.0) in the State. These pollutants, in turn, contribute to higher rates asthma, cardiovascular disease, other health related illness for those living in the Portside Community.

In acknowledgment and in response to these circumstances, on July 13, 2021, the Board identified a vision for the MCAS, “Health Equity for All.” More specifically, health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to “attain his or her full health potential” and no one is “disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances.” While “Health Equity for All” centers around public health, its success may be further advanced through a sustainable environment and thriving seaport. This vision provides a higher resolution lens for crisper and broader sight through which to view the primary and co-benefits of the MCAS. This vision is concise, transformational, and inclusive, and acknowledges that the development and operation of a multiple-purpose use port like the Port of San Diego benefits all the people of California. It takes a more holistic view of multiple benefits and is part of a paradigm shift occurring across the United States recognizing that marginalized communities, that are predominately resided by people of color, have historically suffered more than their share of the burden.

AB 617 Community Air Protection Program
The MCAS and AB 617 Community Air Protection Program are complementary efforts – each informs and supports the other.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) established the Community Air Protection Program (or AB 617 Program) in 2018, which tasks local air pollution control districts to work with communities to develop community-focused emission reduction programs. In September 2018, CARB selected the Portside Communities for air monitoring, which include the neighborhoods of Barrio Logan, West National City, Logan Heights, and Sherman Heights, as well as the Port’s Working Waterfront between the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and the National City Marine Terminal. In December 2019, CARB designated the Portside Community for a Community Emissions Reduction Plan (AB 617 CERP) to focus and accelerate new actions that go beyond existing State and regional programs and provide reductions in air pollution emissions and exposure.

The San Diego Air Pollution Control District (APCD) is responsible for implementing AB 617 and established the AB 617 Steering Committee which includes 28 members who represent residents, agencies, industry, non-profits, and other pertinent stakeholders. Port Commissioner Sandy Naranjo, appointed by the City of National City, is the Port’s representative on the AB 617 Steering Committee. 

On November 18, 2020, the San Diego APCD Board approved Phase I of the Portside Community’s AB 617 CERP to advance some of the early emission reduction strategies under the air district’s authority. On July 16, 2021, the San Diego APCD Board approved Phase II of Portside Community’s AB 617 CERP.  The Portside Community’s AB 617 CERP is scheduled to be heard by CARB’s governing board in October 2021 for final review and approval.

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.


Port of San Diego Environment champions the safekeeping and environmental care of our diverse ecosystems. Year after year, environmental goals are set and measured to evolve environmental initiatives – ensuring San Diego Bay remains a vibrant resource and contributes to a remarkable way of life for visitors and residents for generations to come.