BY ALLYSON BIRD
The Post and Courier
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Treating illnesses related to port pollution could cost Charleston residents$81 million per year, according to a new study commissioned by the Coastal Conservation League.
The report, produced by Massachusetts-based Abt Associates, found that a new container terminalplanned at the former Navy base would account for as much as $27 million in annual medical expenses, and that the existing terminals would account for up to $54 million in health care-related costs by 2025.Photo by Alan Hawes
Nancy Vinson talks about a study the Coastal Conservation League commissioned to look at the effect the ports are having on air quality in the Charleston area.
Read moreCoastal Conservation League press release (2 page PDF)
Report: Estimated Health Impacts of the Proposed Charleston Naval Complex Terminal (122 page PDF)
It also determined that, if the Port ofCharleston switched its operations to cleaner fuel, the $81 million figure would drop to $36 million.
"It's like paying a high power bill if your window is open," said league Project Manager NancyVinson.
State Ports Authority spokesman Byron Miller said he did not know about the report before the league released its findings at a news conference Wednesday.
He highlighted the SPA's Pledge forGrowth, which includes more than $5 million in diesel-emissions-grant projects from the Environmental Protection Agency to replace older engines in cargo-lifting equipment and watercraft and a truckrebate program to cut down on emissions.
He pointed out that the SPA switched to ultra-low sulfur diesel on all off-road equipment and that the agency conducted the first air emissions inventory in theSoutheast. Miller said port operations account for about 1 percent of total fine particulate emissions in the Charleston area, according to that inventory.
"Even though it's a small percentage of...