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Appendix E – Reuse of the Long Beach Naval Yard

Mode Marine, Rail, Highway
Ownership Public/Private
Commodity Type Various
Location Urban, West
Lead Federal Agency U.S. Navy
Cooperating Agencies None
Review Agencies FHWA, COE, ACHP, U.S. EPA, California Department of Toxic Substances Control
State or Local Agencies: City of Long Beach

Environmental Issues:
Air Quality No Issue
Cultural Resources Issue
Land Use Issue
Local Transportation Issue
Natural Resources Major Issue
Noise/vibration Issue
Hazardous Waste Major Issue
Socioeconomics No Issue
Water Quality No Issue

Environmental Review Process:
NEPA, including agency consultation Major Issue
Use of structured process Issue
Integration of NEPA and state processes Major Issue
Timing of environmental review initiation No Issue
Effect of process on project design and alternatives Major Issue
Multi-agency review Major Issue
Public involvement Major Issue

Project Description

For the EIS/EIR, the purpose and need of the federal action was to dispose of the Long Beach Naval Station (NAVSTA) and the Long Beach Naval Shipyard (NSY) under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. The purpose and need for the proposed local action was to reuse the Navy property for expansion of the Port of Long Beach.

Located south of Los Angeles, the Port of Long Beach coupled with the Port of Los Angeles constitutes the San Pedro Bay Port System; together they are approximately twice as large as the next largest container port in North America. The 525-acre island facility will serve as a container-rail/port facility that will also transfer bulk (primarily lumber) and liquid bulk commodities, and operate as a ship repair facility. As part of the Port of Long Beach, the facility is linked by rail to the region and nation through the Alameda Corridor. The Port of Long Beach is building one quarter-mile of new track to link with the Alameda Corridor.

The Port of Long Beach has carried out the planning of the facility on behalf of CALTRANS. While the Navy still holds the title to the NAVSTA and NSY properties, pending clean-up of hazardous waste contamination, the Port of Long Beach has facilitated construction of the intermodal facility by leasing segments of the base until the property transfer is completed. Completion of the construction of the intermodal facility is dependent upon the transfer of the property title to the Port of Long Beach. The Navy is funding the clean-up of the naval complex; the FHWA has funded construction of a traffic interchange and grade separation; and the ACOE is funding dredging and dike repair.

Environmental Issues of Concern

Cultural Resources: The naval complex housed a Historic District, comprised of buildings designed by Paul Revere Williams, one of the first prominent African American architects. These historically significant buildings garnered attention from the local community and the State Historical Preservation Organization (SHPO) and national attention from the ACHP. The local community wanted the complex to be preserved intact. In November 1997, the Navy completed a Historic Properties Adaptive Use Feasibility Study to identify potential realistic, economically feasible adaptive uses for the Historic District. The Navy also reinitiated consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) with the SHPO and the ACHP. Upon completion of a Section 106 Adaptive Use Feasibility Study, it was found that the only economically viable use for the complex is the conversion to an intermodal facility. The Navy developed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the SHPO and the ACHP addressing the potential effects on the Historic District and identifying possible mitigation measures. The agreed upon mitigation plan included: the preservation of selected items from the historical buildings, production of a historical documentary, and a $4.2 million allocation to the City of Long Beach for historic preservation.

Hazardous Waste: The fill material produced by the dredging, along with other materials on the island, is contaminated. The Navy established two major restoration programs, an Installation Restoration Program (IRP) and a compliance program, in response to releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, petroleum hydrocarbons, and hazardous solid wastes. The IRP identifies, assesses, characterizes, and cleans up or controls contamination from past hazardous waste disposal operations and hazardous materials spills. The Compliance Program addresses underground storage tanks, above ground storage tanks, oil/water separators, asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls, radon, and lead-based paint. The Navy has worked with the U.S. EPA to dispose of the contaminated dredge materials, and with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to dispose of the contaminants on the island.

Natural Resources: The FWS raised concerns over impacts to potential feeding areas for the California least tern and nesting areas for the black crown night heron. The EIS/EIR indicated that a significant and mitigable impact to the California least terns would occur due to the loss through dredging of the 26-acre shallow water area in the West Basin. The mitigation is to create replacement shallow-water foraging habitat within the vicinity of the Terminal Island nesting colony. The project would also have a significant and mitigable impact to the black-crowned night heron rookery because of the removal of ornamental trees on the NAVSTA, NSY, and surrounding Port of Long Beach properties. The mitigation for this impact would involve salvaging approximately 30 trees from the existing colony and planting them at Gull Park on the Navy property. Both mitigation measures are the responsibility of the Port of Long Beach.

Noise/vibration: The nearest private residences are located three miles from the intermodal facility, however, the increased train traffic that will result from the completed facility transects these neighborhoods. The Alameda Corridor project will mitigate these impacts.

Environmental Review Process

NEPA, agency consultation: The disposal and conversion process has taken several years. In 1991, the BRAC Commission recommended the closure of NAVSTA and in 1995, recommended the closure of NSY. Most of NAVSTA closed operationally in 1994 and NSY closed in 1997. The Navy began the NEPA process by choosing to evaluate the disposal and reuse of NAVSTA and NSY in separate NEPA documents because they closed under separate BRAC Commission actions and the Navy could reach independent decisions on the two facilities. The Navy prepared and distributed a Final EIS in February 1997 for NAVSTA. The Navy also published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS for NSY in September 1996. The City of Long Beach 's Harbor Department prepared an EIR for the reuse of NAVSTA in 1996. The City's Harbor Department published a Notice of Preparation (NOP) in 1996 for the preparation of an EIR under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the development of NSY. The Navy reevaluated its earlier decision and determined that they should address the disposal and reuse of NAVSTA and NSY in one EIS. Their rationale was that: the properties are adjacent; the Port of Long Beach's reuse plans for both properties were similar; the proposed disposal and reuse would now occur in the same general time frame; and there is the possibility that a combined analysis could identify mitigation measures to reduce impacts to the Historic District. Therefore, the Navy and the City of Long Beach decided to prepare a joint EIS/EIR. They completed the Final EIS/EIR in April 1998. In terms of agency consultation, the proposed destruction of the historic buildings generated controversy and the local preservation group and the SHPO involved the ACHP. The Section 106 process required one year to complete.

Integration of NEPA and state environmental review processes: The Navy and the Port of Long Beach initiated independent EISs and EIRs, which they did not complete. They moved forward with a joint EIS and EIR, which has been reviewed by FHWA, EPA, FWS, and the COE. They also worked jointly with the Navy to complete the Section 106 historic review process. The Port believes that the EIS delayed the project. The Port of Long Beach used a standard approach, has been through CEQA reviews many times, and has reached an understanding over how to characterize various types of impacts (e.g., negligible or significant). However, the Navy (especially their legal staff) had more difficulty determining levels of impact.

Effect of process on project design and alternatives: Two of the alternatives analyzed in the EIS/EIR are based on two potentially feasible adaptive use alternatives generated by the Historic Properties Adaptive Use Feasibility Study.

Multi-Agency Review: The Port and the Navy had to consult with several agencies, including the SHPO, ACHP, EPA, COE, DTSC, and FWS. Apparently, the Navy's ongoing consultations with DTSC have led to tensions between the two agencies.

Public Involvement: Residents are still concerned about air quality, noise and vibration, and hazardous materials transportation impacts from train traffic. The neighboring communities sued over the EIR and EIS.

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