Global environmental challenges
Palin asks Schwarzenegger to terminate shipping fees
At issue is a letter Palin sent to Schwarzenegger last month, asking him to veto a bill that would raise shipping container fees to pay for pollution-reduction programs at three major California ports.
The letter, which Palin sent to Schwarzenegger a day before she was announced as John McCain’s running mate, began circling on the Web on Thursday.
In it, Palin argues that the fees would hurt Alaskans, who rely heavily on marine cargo to receive goods.
“Shipping costs have increased significantly with the rising price of fuel and these higher costs are quickly passed on to Alaskans,” Palin wrote. “This tax makes the situation worse.”
California’s three biggest ports — Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Oakland — are responsible for nearly half of the nation’s imports.
“Gov. Palin needs to visit Southern California and understand that we are the tailpipe of the nation, ” said the bill’s author, California State Senator Alan Lowenthal. “By getting cheap goods from Asia to Alaska, we are subsidizing Alaskans with our health.”
Environmentalists also countered the letter swiftly, saying the bill was critical to reducing the number of pollution-related deaths in California.
“We’re counting on the governor to stand up for California and not out-of-state interests,” Martin Schlageter, campaign director for California air quality group the Coalition for Clean Air, said of the letter.
The bill has received the approval of the California legislature, but the Governor himself has yet to sign it or comment on his plans.
McCain, whose presidential bid Schwarzenegger has endorsed, toured the Los Angeles port area with the California Governor in February of last year. At the time, he called for a nationwide roll-out of California’s low carbon fuel standard.