For any planned development in California (i.e., a new apartment building, a new shopping mall, or in the Port’s case, a new terminal), developers must follow a protocol of analysis and public disclosure of environmental impacts that the proposed development could have and adopt all feasible measures to mitigate those impacts.
This protocol is part of the federally mandated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the state version of this law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which makes environmental protection a required part of new development projects, unless a project falls under certain exemptions.
The project applicant, or developer, must identify mitigation measures and project alternatives to reduce the environmental impact of their project. This report is called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for NEPA and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for CEQA. If a project falls under both the jurisdiction of NEPA and CEQA, then a joint EIR/EIS will often be developed. There are many different environmental resource factors that must be analyzed as part of an EIS/EIR, one of which is air quality. A federal, state, or local agency, depending on jurisdiction, will review a project’s EIS/EIR. In the Port’s case, the lead agency is the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners. A joint EIS/EIR will be approved if it contains feasible mitigation measures and the environmentally superior alternative(s).
Once a project is approved by the leading agency per the requirements, the project applicant must meet the mitigation requirements that have been laid out in theEIS/EIR.
You can read more about CEQA on the California Natural Resources Agency website.