Environmental Justice

PG&E always strives to balance the need to maintain and expand its system to meet our customers' needs with the responsibility to understand and respect the needs of our neighbors. In this effort, we are guided by an Environmental Justice (EJ) policy, which commits the company to seek meaningful involvement from community members in decision-making that affects their health and well-being.

PG&E's liquefied natural gas services supplied fuel to a mobile generator, powering an 800-foot container ship berthed at the Port of Oakland. Photo: Lewis Stewart

The policy and our Environmental Justice program, which we have implemented for over five years, includes employee education and training and focuses on ensuring that we manage facilities in an environmentally responsible manner, in compliance with all laws and regulations, and in a way that minimizes or avoids impacts on adjacent communities.

Examples of our environmental justice policy in action during 2007 included the following:

  • Introducing clean energy sources at the Port of Oakland. For years, diesel emissions from commercial truck and ship traffic at the port have contributed to health problems for nearby residents. Through PG&E's involvement in the West Oakland Toxic Reduction Collaborative, a group initiated by the West Oakland community and U.S. EPA Region 9, we learned about the community's air quality challenges and identified ways in which we could help. In the spirit of our EJ policy, PG&E took a proactive approach and began working with the port operators and other stakeholders to demonstrate new, cleaner sources of energy using natural gas and electric technologies.

    As one major milestone, we worked with CleanAir Transport, a local trucking company, to introduce 11 LNG vehicles at the port and install a public access natural gas refueling station. Additional plans call for more natural gas vehicles and refueling stations.

    PG&E also helped demonstrate a successful “cold ironing” test, powering an 800-foot container ship at berth using a mobile natural gas generator. PG&E provided the equipment, expertise, permit support and staff for the test, working in partnership with CleanAir Marine Power, the Port of Oakland and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The test reduced emissions from the ship dramatically, with an 89 percent cut in NOX, a 99 percent drop in particulate matter, the elimination of SOX and a 50 percent cut in CO2.

    PG&E's efforts earned the company a prestigious Environmental Award from the U.S. EPA Region 9 in 2007. We are now working to expand these solutions in California and encouraging truck manufacturers to produce additional clean emission vehicles. PG&E also continues to educate California policy makers and regulators about how these innovative strategies can achieve immediate improvements in port air quality.

Local CityBuild graduates hired to help dismantle PG&E's Hunters Point Power Plant

  • Ongoing community involvement in the dismantlement of PG&E's Hunters Point Power Plant. For years leading up to the plant's closure in 2006, PG&E actively engaged with the local community. PG&E voluntarily pledged to demolish the natural gas-fueled plant and remediate the site to meet standards for residential use, becoming one of the first utility companies in the country to do so. These efforts continue to serve as an example of the company's EJ policy in action and a replicable model for other utilities.

    In 2007, PG&E demonstrated its ongoing involvement with the community in many ways. On average, 45 percent of the on-site contractor dismantlement labor force was hired and trained from the neighborhood surrounding the plant, graduates of a local workforce training initiative called CityBuild. In addition, PG&E continued its community outreach through a Project Advisory Committee, which brought together neighborhood and community leaders on issues surrounding the plant's dismantlement.

    PG&E expects the demolition to be completed in 2009, followed by a multiyear process to remediate the property. As with the dismantlement, the community will continue to play an important role, with local workers likely comprising 30 to 40 percent of the workforce.