Categoria: Port of Los Angeles

Port Of LA Oil Terminal Project Will Get Full Environmental Review. This Is Why

The Port of Los Angeles will conduct a full environmental study on a proposal to upgrade the nearly 14-acre Phillips 66 Marine Oil Terminal and Wharf, which has come under criticism by community members and several environmental groups.

The massive project is intended to bring the terminal up to all present-day oil terminal health and safety standards. Construction would take about three years, said Juliana Moreno, public affairs senior advisor for Phillips 66.

Temporary improvements at Berths 148-149 for alternative use during construction also is provided for in the project.

But construction is still a ways off, with the process of creating the environmental study, which port officials announced during this week’s LA harbor commission meeting, taking up to a year.

While the port did not provide additional details during the meeting, a spokesperson said in a subsequent email that the coming study, called an Environmental Impact Review, stemmed from public response to the mitigated negative declaration, which essentially listed all the ways officials planned to reduce the project’s potential environmental impacts.

“After evaluating the public responses to the MND,” POLA spokesperson Rachel Campbell said, “the port has released (the new notice) to address potential environmental impacts” associated with the project.”

The port will seek public feedback on its initial plan for creating a draft EIR — called a Notice of Preparation/Initial Study, which came out earlier this month — during a Zoom meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. March 14.

Environmental groups, meanwhile, lauded the decision to have an EIR.

“This is a very positive development,” David Pettit, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a phone interview, “that the port is going to do a full EIR, which we and a whole bunch of community groups asked them to do.”

The port, Pettit said, has also agreed in the preparation document to look at the issue of greenhouse gas impacts, something critics also had asked the port to do.

Berths 148-151 Phillips 66 Marine Oil Terminal and Wharf Improvement Project (Courtesy Port of Los Angeles) The proposed project would provide up to a 40-year lease agreement for Phillips 66 to continue operating at Berths 148-151, at the foot of “A” Street in Wilmington.

The site is basically a cargo terminal, except it’s only for imported oil, which then gets sent to refineries. There are 26 storage tanks of various sizes that have a combined capactiy of 850,000 barrels, according to the project’s planning documents. From there, the oil gets transported, via pipeline, to the Phillips 66 refinery plants in Carson and Wilmington, collectively known as the Los Angeles Refinery; the oil gets sent to other facilities as well.

The entire 13.8-acre site presently includes backlands and a non-operational wharf at Berths 150-151, along with an adjacent wharf at Berths 148-149, where the terminal’s marine tanker vessel operations are conducted. The parcel features a deteriorating, 575 foot-long, non-operational timber wharf at Berths 150-151.

The site has been a marine oil terminal since 1919, when Union Oil began operations using a wharf that has since been replaced, according to the preparation notice.

The proposal calls for demolishing and reconstructing the existing Phillips 66 wharf structures at Berths 150-151. Vessel berthing improvements would be made at Berths 148-149.

A concrete wharf, with associated mooring and berthing capacity, would be constructed at Berths 150-151, along with an oil commodity transfer and pollution control facilities.

“The primary objective of the proposed project,” a Phillips 66 spokesperson said in an email, “is to ensure that our marine oil terminal at Berths 148-151 complies with Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards (MOTEMS) to protect public health, safety, and the environment.”

The plan has been in the works for years.

In 2021, the port filed a mitigated negative declaration, a document explaining why the proposed project would not have a significant effect on the environment and, as a result, does not require a full EIR; state environmental law mandates EIRs for projects that could have significant impacts.

But the project drew criticism from three neighborhood councils, as well as the California Coastal Commission and a group of environmental advocacy organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council. That ultimately led to the port’s decision to conduct a full EIR.

In a Feb. 18, 2022, the NRDC — along with Communities for a Better Environment, Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and others — argued a full EIR was needed. The project, the letter said, was being disguised as an improvement effort but that it would nearly double crude oil throughput at the terminal.

And that, Pettit said in a Thursday, Feb. 23, interview would have greenhouse gas impacts down the line, as petroleum products are used for gasoline and “would get burned somewhere.”

“There is a way to make it safe, in my opinion,” he said of the project, “but it’s whether the port and Phillips 66 will agree.”

Another issue, he said, is whether the project will increase capacity at local refineries.

But the Phillips 66 spokesperson defended the project, saying it “does not expand the capacity of either the terminal or the refinery.”

The spokesperson also stressed Phillips 66’s efforts to operate cleanly.

“Our commitment to a lower-carbon future,” the spokesperson said, includes our investment in technology to improve our assets, products, and processes for increased efficiency and the ability to capitalize on emerging possibilities as the energy market transforms.”

The port, which announced its plans to create an EIR on Thursday, will accept written comments until April 10.

To comment, email or send your thoughts to “Christopher Cannon, Director of Environmental Management, Los Angeles Harbor Department, 425 South Palos Verdes St., San Pedro, CA 90731”

For emails, the subject line should say, “Berths 148-151 (Phillips 66) Marine Oil Terminal and Wharf Improvement Project,” and the body of the email should include the commenter’s mailing address.

The harbor commission will have to eventually approve the final EIR and the project itself before construction can begin. There’s no timeline yet on when work would begin.

For more information, go to

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San Pedro’s Historic Star-Kist Plant Building Approved For Demolition

Cannery workers pose in front of the French Sardine Cannery at Fish Harbor, Terminal Island circa 1939. French Sardine later became StarKist. (Los Angeles Maritime Museum Collection, Gift of Matt Matich).

Star-Kist cannery on Terminal Island in San Pedro. (Photo Courtesy of Anthony Pirozzi)

Exterior of the Star-Kist plant that once employed thousands in its tuna cannery in San Pedro. (Photo Courtesy of Anthony Pirozzi)

Inside the former Star-Kist plant on Terminal Island in San Pedro. (Photo Courtesy of Anthony Pirozzi)

In this June 30, 2008, file photo a Star-Kist brand product is seen on a grocery store shelf in Boston. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole,File)

What remains of an erstwhile canning plant that had significant historic roots in San Pedro’s once-thriving tuna fishing industry will be demolished following a recent 3-1 Los Angeles harbor commission vote.

The Port of Los Angeles, which has been weighing the issue of what to do with the remote property since 2016, has conducted several studies, trying unsuccessfully to find a new operator that could continue a canning business there.

But the port ultimately concluded it is better suited for demolition to make way for a needed chassis depot and maintenance facility, since container shipping, not commercial fishing, is now the predominant money-maker in the port.

The vacant Star-Kist facility is also in serious disrepair, port officials said, and would cost about $37 million just to refurbish.

But the harbor commission decision last week to OK demolition, which had been protested, came with a Port of Los Angeles pledge to pursue other to memorialize the history of the plant, which hasn’t been used in decades.

Recalling the historic black-and-white images of hundreds of female cannery employees, in hair nets and white uniforms, who worked there through the years, Commissioner Diane Middleton described the plant as once the “largest canning facility in the world.”

“We absolutely want to preserve that history and we want to honor the cannery workers,” she said during the Thursday, Feb. 9, meeting. “What is the best way to do that?”

Middleton said she’s been working on one plan that could serve that purpose.

Two groups in town — the Harry Bridges Institute and the Southern California Pensioners for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union — are in discussions with Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Middleton said, to create a harbor labor museum in downtown San Pedro.

“There is going to be an opportunity for a tremendous memorial to the cannery workers,” Middleton said in her remarks.

The plan, she said, is for the museum to open somewhere in the downtown San Pedro district, “not far from West Harbor, the new waterfront development now under construction.

“We believe it should be part of a tourist attraction,” Middleton said.

The port said it will also consider several other options, including:

Renaming the portion of Ways Street in front of the main Star-Kist plant to “Star Kist Foods Way.” Coordinating with the Los Angeles Maritime Museum to showcase the plant’s can seamer equipment, as part of the museum’s existing canning industry exhibit. Installing a new monument or adding to the existing Fishing Industry Memorial on Harbor Boulevard. Any of those actions would be brought back for harbor commission approval.

The cannery for Star-Kist operated from 1952 to 84, with the buildings on the 14-acre site constructed from 1947 to 1979, according to the port’s board report.

But none of the remaining buildings, including the main one, qualifies for National Register of Historic Places, the California Register of Historical Resources or as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.

The building “lacked the integrity to convey” the importance of the site’s historic significance, said Margaret Roderick, who consulted with port staff on the project. So many changes were made to the building in the 1970s and 1980s, she said, that it no longer held “sufficient integrity” to represent the historic story that unfolded there.

“There’s just nothing left,” she said.

As it stands now, port officials said, the building is also a fire safety hazard that requires 24-hour security, costing the port $30,000 a month.

Anthony Misetich, a former honorary mayor of San Pedro and descendent of the family that founded Star-Kist, was among the leading voices in efforts to preserve the building.

While the best use for it, he said, would be as another canning site — the port said no viable canning businesses responded to several requests for proposals in 2016, 2018 or 2022 — a secondary use should be as a museum.

The location, however, would make a museum in that spot impractical and far from visitor-friendly, Middleton said.

“I couldn’t even find it,” she said of her visit to the site. “I’m a very practical person and this is in the middle of Terminal Island. You have to drive through trucks and traffic and you can’t even find the building.”

The building, Middleton added, is also in worse disrepair than the port’s photos indicated.

“If this were a house,” she said, “there’s no question it would be called a tear-down.”

Still, the decision to demolish the building didn’t come easy for some, including a few port staffers and Commissioner Anthony Pirozzi, who all had long family ties to the site.

“Full disclosure,” said Port of Los Angeles Community Affairs Advocate Augie Bezmalinovich, “Martin J. Bogdanovich (founder of the French Sardine Co. in 1914 that later became Star-Kist) is my great uncle, my grandfather (ran) the cafeteria at Star-Kist, my mother and father met at Star-Kist.”

Pirozzi, meanwhile, was the lone commissioner to vote against demolition; one commissioner was absent.

“I have a hard time with this, too,” Pirozzi said. “My family worked there and I’ve struggled with this, as you all know. But we need to see what we can do with this property to make it into the next phase of what we need to do in the port.”

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San Pedro Fish Market Strikes Deal For Temporary Spot On Waterfront

A deal appears to be in the works to provide temporary space for the San Pedro Fish Market somewhere within the 40 acres of the West Harbor waterfront development site. The business must vacate its long-standing waterfront premises by March 3, in San Pedro on Wednesday, February 8, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

A deal appears to be in the works to provide temporary space for the San Pedro Fish Market somewhere within the 40 acres of the West Harbor waterfront development site. The business must vacate its long-standing waterfront premises by March 3, in San Pedro on Wednesday, February 8, 2023. (Photo by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)

The San Pedro Fish Market and Restaurant faces a move to make way for the new West Harbor waterfront development in San Pedro. (Photo by contributing photographer Chuck Bennett)

The San Pedro Fish Market and Restaurant will have to move to make way for the new development. (Photo by contributing photographer Chuck Bennett)

Shrimp and more at San Pedro Fish Market (Photo by Merrill Shindler)

San Pedro Fish Market’s World Famous Shrimp Trays are prepared on a busy summer weekend in 2016. The restaurant, started in 1956, has grown to one of the busiest in the country Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

San Pedro Fish Market and Restaurant announced it now plans to move to the northern part of the San Pedro waterfront at Berth 93, abandoning the earlier proposal to be part of the new West Harbor waterfront development that is about 1.5 miles south where Ports O’ Call once stood. Restaurant owners are shown standing near the new space near the Vincent Thomas Bridge that will allow them to double their capacity. (Courtesy photo)

The San Pedro Fish Market and Restaurant has reached an agreement with the West Harbor developers that will allow the iconic eatery to operate out of a nearby, temporary “pop-up” spot as work begins to clear the current site.

The market must move out of its current and longtime location by March 3 under port requirements currently in place.

“San Pedro Fish Market is officially moving into the next phase of development,” the restaurant wrote in a Tuesday, Feb. 7, Facebook post announcing the deal.

That post thanked Los Angeles Councilmember Tim McOsker, the Port of Los Angeles and the West Harbor development team, which have “worked with us collaboratively on the waterfront in San Pedro” to reach an agreement for an interim location.

McOsker, in a Wednesday, Feb. 7, statement, called the market a “crucial part of our community for over 65 years.”

“It has been important to me to work with them to find a new home,” he added, pledging to continue doing so until the market finds “a more permanent home on the LA waterfront.”

The restaurant, which has long-term plans to build a new facility and move to the cruise terminal berth near the Vincent Thomas Bridge, has been embroiled in lengthy closed-door discussions with the port over details regarding a permit for that site. Neither party will comment on the specifics of those discussions.

But with the move-out date fast approaching, the lack of clarity about a permanent site raised concerns over whether the market would have to stop operating for a time if it couldn’t find a temporary location.

West Harbor needs access to the current Fish Market location so work can begin in preparing to demolish the building and remediate the land underneath before construction gets underway for West Harbor. The new waterfront development is slated to open in late 2024.

The San Pedro Fish Market originally was initially part of that new development. But the restaurant later pulled out, deciding it needed more room than what was being offered.

Michael Ungaro, CEO of the Fish Market, declined to comment Wednesday.

Details on how soon a temporary spot could be ready to serve customers weren’t immediately available.

Eric Johnson of Jerico Development, one of the West Harbor waterfront development partners, said Tuesday that a specific site on the development’s waterfront footprint hasn’t been determined. Those specifics will be worked out with the fish market, he said.

“We’ve got 40 acres, a fair amount of room, and we’ll be sitting down with them and seeing what they can do,” Johnson said in a telephone interview. “All in all, we’re pleased.”

In the Facebook post, the market said, “Our new ‘pop-up’ location will be just a short walk north.”

For now, though, the San Pedro Fish Market continues operating at its longstanding location. It’s unclear whether it will be allowed to remain beyond the March 3 move-out date if more time is needed to set up the temporary facility.

Questions had swirled around how the market’s forced exit would be handled, especially considering many in the community still have lingering resentments over how POLA officials handled the eviction process for the iconic Ports O’ Call Restaurant and nearby shops several years ago, while plans for the West Harbor development were still relatively nascent.

The fish market hoped to have a temporary spot up and running on the same cruise terminal site where its new permanent building will eventually go. Instead, the pop-up spot will be adjacent to the market’s current location. But either way, having a temporary location eases the threat of the market losing business after it moves out of its longtime location.

Restaurant operators, the Facebook post said, are “excited to very soon have plans to share for our ‘pop up’ location within the West Harbor project which will have plenty of seating and all the great seafood we’re known for.”

There have been no recent comments on the specific plans for the new permanent Fish Market location at the cruise terminal. But the Los Angeles harbor commission is, again, set to discuss negotiations between the city and the restaurant on “price and terms” for a permit at “Berths 93 C, D and E” in closed session during its Thursday, Feb. 9, meeting.

The port also announced recently that it would include the original cruise terminal site as part of a request for proposals to create a new Outer Harbor cruise terminal and to possibly revamp the existing one at Berth 93 as a companion project.

But a port spokesperson said the Berth 93 site the restaurant has been eyeing for its new permanent location is not within the cruise terminal footprint that would be included in the RFP.

The popular family-owned restaurant, with a 65-year history in the port town, has been one of the area’s most colorful and unique attractions, drawing visitors from a wide region to enjoy giant fresh fish platters, mariachis and other live music, and a festive, outdoor setting that features a front-row seat to San Pedro’s commercial shipping channel.

The market’s planned new home, about 1 mile north of its present location, will provide “bookend” attractions on the waterfront, as Mike Galvin, POLA’s director of waterfront and commercial real estate, once described it.

The Fish Market had been a centerpiece of San Pedro’s now-shuttered Ports O’ Call Village, which opened in the early 1960s and is being replaced by the West Harbor development.

The restaurant, in its Facebook post, assured the community that it intended to keep its location in town. It has recently opened other smaller locations, including one in Long Beach.

“We intend to maintain a home in San Pedro,” the market said in its post, “and are encouraged and thankful to be working directly with West Harbor on a plan for us to quickly resume operations in a temporary location, which we are excited about.

“This will allow our family and staff to continue to serve our loyal customers,” the market added, “while we explore a longer-term opportunity on the San Pedro waterfront.”

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San Pedro’s Outer-Harbor Cruise Terminal Plan Underway Again

A more than decade-long plan to create an additional passenger cruise terminal in San Pedro’s Outer Harbor recently relaunched after being paused for about three years, a result of the coronavirus pandemic essentially shutting down the entire cruise industry.

Now, the Port of Los Angeles, with its cruise business rebounding, is pushing forward again to revisit the proposal.

A draft request for proposals to create the new center went out on Jan. 31, with written comments from the public due on March 3. It includes a plan to redevelop the existing World Cruise Center — at Swinford Street and Harbor Boulevard — on the Los Angeles waterfront in San Pedro.

The draft RFP seeks preliminary public comments to help inform the final request for proposals the port will eventually release.

“This cruise development initiative is critical to our business, our community and the LA Waterfront,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said in a written statement. “Each cruise ship that calls at the Port of Los Angeles generates more than $1 million into the local economy.”

The port logged 229 cruises leaving the Port of LA in 2022, Seroka said during his State of the Port address on Jan. 19, with just as many — “if not more” — expected this year.

The planned Outer Harbor Cruise Terminal will be at Berths 45-51, a site that offers panoramic views of the coastline and Catalina Island. The site includes 13 acres of backland, two existing wharves and 14 acres of associated off-site parking.

The new terminal, on San Pedro’s southern coastline, has been in the works for more than a decade, albeit with some public criticism. Critics in the past have said the project would block water views, negatively impact local boating traffic coming and going from the marina, and cause traffic congestion.

Yet, when a formal request for proposals was initially getting underway in 2019, plans still called for the new center to handle longer ships with greater capacity.

Either way, the RFP went nowhere — with the pandemic soon putting everything on hold.

But with the new year, the port has relaunched its efforts to build a new cruise terminal.

And the latest draft RFP broadens the proposed project’s scope, including “the development, redevelopment, and operations of all cruise operations at the port.”

Besides creating a new cruise terminal at Berths 45-51, known as the Outer Harbor Cruise Terminal, the project would also redevelop the existing cruise terminal at Berths 87-93, known as the Inner Harbor Cruise Terminal.

Officials expected the new terminal and the redeveloped one to each have a minimum of two cruise berths, for a total of four.

The proposed Outer Harbor Cruise Terminal site, 3011 Dave Arian Way, is at the south end of the Outer Harbor/warehouse district on the waterfront. The backland is generally bounded by Miner Street to the north, the Main Channel to the east, open navigation waters to the south and the former San Pedro Boatworks site at Berth 44 to the west.

The current cruise terminal, now described as the Inner Harbor Cruise Terminal, 100 Swinford St., is at the north end of what is considered the waterfront’s “cruise district.” It includes 22 acres, two existing cruise berths, two terminal buildings and a baggage handling structure.

The proposals for the project, the RFP document said, may include “the relocation of the USS Battleship Iowa to accommodate an additional cruise berth.”

Plans are already tentatively in place to move the World War II battleship to the Southern Pacific Slip, closer to the future West Harbor waterfront development that’s set to open in 2024. Moving the historic ship is estimated to cost $25 million, according to the RFP, but that could change.

“The harbor department seeks to partner with a high-caliber development firm for the development and operations of the Inner and Outer Harbor Cruise Terminals with the primary objective to expand the port’s cruise business capacity to meet future demand,” the draft RFP said. “The goal is to develop cruise facilities to handle the largest ships presently serving the west coast market, with room to expand operations in response to future deployment of larger ships. Proposers may use a phased approach to the development of the new cruise terminals.”

For the existing terminal at Swinford, proposals can include improvements for the structures now in place. The Outer Harbor Cruise Terminal would require new structures on the currently vacant land.

The timing of construction, the RFP said, is “subject to market conditions.”

The 27-page RFP can be found at the port’s website.

Written comments must be submitted by email to Tanisha Herr at on or before 3 p.m. Friday, March 3.

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