The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

L.A. ports:
pollution and profits

Mar 31, 2008

Politicians who run the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports say they are taking the steps to clean up air pollution. These ports, which are amongst the largest in the world, produce more air pollution in the L.A. area than any other source.

Of course, as usual, the politicians are working hand in glove with the big profitable companies to shape a plan to their liking.

So the politicians are proposing that the shipping companies convert their ship’s engines to cleaner burning diesel fuels. These engines are so huge, some produce more pollution than 12,000 cars. The problem is that the politicians want the taxpayers to subsidize this conversion. That is, the same politicians who claim that the cities are in such bad financial shape that they have to raise taxes are handing over countless millions to some of the biggest and most profitable shipping companies in the world!

Such shameless handouts to big business have whet the appetite of other bosses, of course. Big rail companies, such as Union Pacific and Burlington, have jumped on the bandwagon. They have poured small fortunes into lobbying campaigns to build huge rail yards near the port, as a way to reduce truck traffic and pollution.

Of course, what they don’t say is that they are proposing to put the yards right in the middle of residential neighborhoods and next to public schools. This means that the people in those neighborhoods would be breathing in all those diesel fumes from idling trains and trucks.

No wonder residents of the overwhelming working-class area near the ports are up in arms. They have every reason to demand that the big, obscenely profitable corporations stop polluting.

At the same time, the taxpayers have to demand that our tax money goes to what we need, like schools and healthcare, and not to fatten the profits of big companies.