243335 Promoting health in transportation and global trade policy through community research and participation

Monday, October 31, 2011: 11:30 AM

Andrea Hricko, MPH , Community Outreach and Education Program, Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Martha Matsuoka, PhD , Urban and Environmental Policy, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Robert Gottlieb , Urban & Environmental Policy Institute, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA
Carla Truax , Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Southern CA is home to the country's two largest ports. Because of the volume of imported containers from Asia and the intense flow of trade to the rest of the country, numerous environmental justice (EJ) communities in the Los Angeles region face serious impacts from diesel pollution, noise, and traffic congestion – which residents fear will worsen as “goods movement” facilities such as rail yards and highways begin to double or triple in capacity. In the diverse community of Long Beach, students at a school near a rail yard are exposed to the highest levels of diesel pollution in the region; nonetheless a proposal to double the capacity of that yard has gained traction. Studies are showing that EJ communities in CA and around the U.S. located near freight facilities suffer disproportionate impacts. For example, African-Americans in Gulfport, MI are fighting a major new 6-lane “port connector road” that would connect the Port of Gulfport to I-10. Gulfport residents argue that the highway will negatively impact health, wetlands and historic African-American neighborhoods. Meanwhile, national policymakers call for expanded funding of aging bridges, highways, and rail yards to stimulate the economy. As a result of these federal efforts – and expansion of the Panama Canal, expected to be completed in 2014 – many East Coast ports are racing to enlarge. Residents from port, rail and warehouse communities throughout the U.S. came together in October 2010 to share community research and strategies on how EJ communities can participate more effectively to inform policymakers about health equity issues in transportation decisions. This presentation will look at community organizing efforts and new policies that could reduce the local impacts from global trade. It will describe findings from a 2011 report by the authors to The Kresge Foundation on this topic.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the disproportionate impacts of transportation planning and global trade projects on environmental justice communities that are in close proximity to marine ports, rail yards, warehouses and truck-congested highways. 2) Identify opportunities to reduce health inequities through transportation advocacy at the local, regional, state and national levels. 3) Identify resources and partner organizations to assist with transportation health equity advocacy.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work with community-based organizations and community members to investigate and address environmental health exposures from transportation pollution and to integrate environmental health concerns into the transportation planning process.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.