Ports Primer: 7.5 Potential Community Interests
Community interests in environmental impacts may include:
Near-port communities, which are often low-income and/or communities of color, are likely to experience higher concentrations of environmental impacts than other residential communities; these cumulative impacts, in addition to direct and indirect impacts, may result in environmental justice concerns.
Some near-port communities include tribal groups and may need to address tribal-specific environmental justice concerns. For example, water quality problems can lead to impacts on aquatic life. In addition, water traffic congestion could be an issue if there is recreational boat use in the area. Although these issues could arise for any near-port community, they may raise specific cultural concerns for near-port communities that include tribal groups.
Air Quality & Health
The concentrated use of diesel engines and other engines in and around ports can contribute to air quality and related health impacts for community residents. Stationary sources, such as industry, can also contribute to these challenges.
Noise & Light Impacts
Light and noise pollution, or nuisance, from port operations can result in lower quality of life and health impacts for community residents. Nuisance is defined as someone or something that causes a problem for other people, an area, etc. that may be able to be solved by the law.1
Public Health Effects
Access to Natural Areas and Open Space
Near-port communities may find their access to amenities such as waterfronts, natural areas and open space limited due to destruction of habitat and/or restrictions on access due to port expansion.
Since many urban communities are also increasingly facing challenges associated with climate adaptation, this common challenge provides an opportunity for collaboration between ports and near-port communities.
Near-port communities may be concerned about potential impacts associated with sea level rise and extreme weather events, including flood waters contaminated with toxic/hazardous materials that may be stored at ground level in a port complex or associated facilities.