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Keeping Up With the Port Of Long Beach

As one of the city’s major economic engines, the Port of Long Beach produces a lot of exhaust. To make sure the residents whose communities are directly affected by the pollution – those living near the port complex or the 710 Freeway – receive the help they need is one of Morgan Caswell’s priorities. As an environmental specialist with the harbor department’s air quality team, Caswell administers a variety of programs to help mitigate the public health impacts of the massive cargo operations within the San Pedro Bay. One of her favorite projects is the  Community Grants Program, which was started in 2017 and provides $46 million to fund projects targeting health risks posed by pollution over a span of 12 to 15 years. “This program is most rewarding, because you get to actually work directly with a lot of community partners,” Caswell said. “You know that the funds are going where they need to go to better the health outcomes of the community.” Projects funded by the grants program include mobile clinics focused on asthma care, air filtration devices for community facilities and stormwater management, as well as other initiatives. Tasked with regulatory advocacy, grant administration and the demonstration of zero-emission technology at the port, Caswell said she often spends one day on the dock and the next in Sacramento. “Because a seaport is so dynamic, you’ll constantly be faced with new challenges, which is interesting,” she noted. Caswell also highlighted the passion all members of the all-female air quality team have for their work. “We’re all aiming for the same environmental goal, we’re all really invested in what we’re doing. That’s pretty rewarding.”

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