Walmart, Target Must Take Accountability for Spiking Port Pollution in Los Angeles, Long Beach

Date: October 14, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Biden-Harris administration authorized 24/7 operations at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to ease import backlogs, working with top importers including Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Lowe’s to accelerate shipments of goods throughout the country yesterday. The Ship It Zero Coalition calls on the Biden-Haris administration, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s and other retailers to share in detail with the public what actions they are taking to end air pollution from this surge in imports.

“We need the Biden-Harris administration, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other retailers to take a step back and assess what changes are necessary to stop polluting port communities and our climate in the process of importing goods,” said Dawny’all Heydari, Ship It Zero Campaign Lead at Pacific Environment. “For far too long, port communities and our climate have been treated as our economy’s collateral damage. This needs to change now we need clean ports economies this decade.”

Due to pandemic and holiday-related trends, a record-setting 60 to 70 cargo container ships at a time have been idling off the shores of the San Pedro Bay Ports awaiting entry for over a month now. Ship congestion has brought a tremendous level of deadly air pollution to Los Angeles and Long Beach port adjacent communities, who already experience up to 8 years lower life expectancy than the Los Angeles County average. 

“Today’s ship congestion is the result of decades of decisions by companies and policymakers to offshore U.S. manufacturing jobs.” said Tyler McFadden, Federal Policy Manager for Climate at Pacific Environment. “Backed by Big Oil, fossil-fueled maritime shipping is so cheap that it helps justify corporations’ production of goods overseas. Companies and policymakers need to take shared responsibility for creating the runaway fossil fuel shipping crisis we have today.” 

To avoid similar pollution crises in the future, the Ship it Zero Coalition demands that Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other retailers commit to 100% zero-emissions shipping by 2030, as the world’s first zero-emissions ships are expected to become available by 2024. In the meantime, Ship It Zero calls on retailers to immediately adopt existing technologies and methods to reduce emissions, including wind-assisted propulsion and slow-steaming.  

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Contact: Gwen Dobbs, Pacific Environment, [email protected], 202-329-9295

Pacific Environment is a global environmental organization that protects communities and wildlife of the Pacific Rim. We support community leaders to fight climate change, protect the oceans, build just societies, and move away from fossil fuels toward a green economy.