Port Project to Offset America’s Cup Air Pollution in San Francisco

By February 7, 2012Sea Turtles

Clean Hydro-Power Hook-Up for Ship Repair Dock at Pier 70 to Slash Waterfront Air Emissions

Cruise ships and military vessels being repaired at the Port of San Francisco’s historic shipbuilding operations at Pier 70 will soon be able to plug into the city’s clean hydro-power instead of operating on dirty diesel engines, preventing an estimated 285 tons of air pollution and 10,743 tons of greenhouse gases from being emitted into the atmosphere in the first full year of operation (2013).

The $6 million air quality project will offset the excess emissions resulting from the temporary shutdown of shoreside power for cruise ships at Pier 27 during the America’s Cup races and construction of a new cruise ship terminal.

“The Pier 70 shorepower project will improve air quality along the San Francisco waterfront for years to come,” said Teri Shore of Turtle Island Restoration Network (SeaTurtles.org), who lobbied for Bay air and water quality protections from the America’s Cup races and associated waterfront development. “We recognize the port, the city, the mayor’s office and the America’s Cup Event Authority for requiring cleaner marine fuels, engines and other measures to minimize the primary air quality and environmental concerns we had.”

The Pier 70 project announced by the Mayor’s Office and Port of San Francisco was developed in direct response to demands by environmentalists, public health advocates and neighborhood activists to offset the air pollution estimated will be generated by the America’s Cup races, construction of a new cruise ship terminal and shutdown of shoreside power for cruise ships at Pier 27 for two or more years.

“Cleaning up dirty diesel engines with clean hydro power is a welcome offset to the closing of Pier 27,” said Linda Weiner, Executive Committee Member of the Sierra Club, San Francisco Group. “Reducing air pollution and thereby decreasing the negative health impacts to the surrounding neighborhoods is a step forward in cleaner air for everyone.”

Localized impacts at Pier 35 will increase beginning in 2012 until the new cruise terminal is completed in 2014 because ships will not be able to plug into shorepower at Pier 27.

In addition to the Pier 70 project, the groups and their allies on the America’s Cup Environmental Council also won requirements for cleaner marine fuels and engines and use of shoreside power by superyachts that will provide air quality benefits during and after the America’s Cup events.

As part of its commitment to a clean, zero waste, carbon neutral event, the port and the city have promised strict measures to protect the Bay’s water from vessel discharges and litter, including the educational program for clean boating. The contentious jumbotron in Aquatic Park was also nixed.

Seaturtles.org plans to continue to engage in the public process to improve and finalize the sustainability plan, zero waste plan and other related environmental documents that will help ensure that the America’s Cup events, races and associated developments including the cruise terminal are as environmentally responsible as possible.

SeaTurtles.org is an international marine conservation organization headquartered in West Marin whose 30,000 members and supporters work to protect sea turtles and marine biodiversity in the United States and around the world.

Download the letter signed by Bay Area public health advocates objecting to the shutdown of shorepower. Read other America’s Cup documents and news here.