Accord Allows Base Development During Cleanup

In a move designed to expedite construction of new cargo terminals at the Long Beach Naval Station, port commissioners approved an agreement with the U.S. Navy on Monday that would allow the port to lease the abandoned base while the federal government proceeds with environmental cleanup.

Port officials say that ownership of the base cannot be conveyed to the port until much of the pollution from shipyard operations has been removed. The lease, however, will allow work to begin on plans to develop more than 400 acres of terminal space.

Under terms of the agreement, the Navy is responsible for cleaning up pollution on the land areas of the base. The port has agreed to improve water quality in the basin in front of the base.

The lease requires the port to pay rent and will last 50 years or until the Navy conveys ownership to the port.

In other action Monday, the Long Beach Harbor Commission authorized a series of agreements to improve rail service at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles by turning over switching and dispatching operations to a rail service that does not have ties to the large railroads.

Port officials say that the creation of the Pacific Harbor Line will provide a neutral third party that will deliver service in the harbor area. Today, switching operations are provided by Union Pacific railroad.

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