Terminal operators at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach must reduce their diesel emissions and do a better job of warning the public about the dangers of diesel exhaust under the terms of a lawsuit settlement announced this week.

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced a settlement with cargo terminals at the ports over diesel emissions from exhaust that requires the terminals to complete projects to reduce their diesel emissions and better notify the public of emissions.

Harris filed suit in June alleging the terminals violated Proposition 65, by exposing neighboring residents to high levels of diesel exhaust without giving the required warning.

Approved in Los Angeles Superior Court, the settlement requires the terminals to:

* implement an innovative warning program using newspaper ads, bus shelter signs and the Internet to inform the community about the diesel exposures;

* undertake projects valued at $1 million per terminal to reduce diesel emissions from their respective operations; and

* pay the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles for projects to lower diesel emissions from the trucks, tractors and trains that operate at the port.

The terminals will pay $756,000 to the Port of Los Angeles for grants to allow small trucking firms to buy new, low-emission trucks; $324,000 to the Port of Long Beach for projects for clean running trucks and locomotives; and $540,000 in civil penalties.

In addition, the terminal operators will have to warn the public that they are being exposed to diesel exhaust, as required by Proposition 65. The settlement requires the terminal operators to keep giving the warnings - at bus stops, in newspapers and on the Internet - until diesel emissions no longer pose a significant risk to the community, said a statement from the attorney general.

The seven terminals at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles that cause the largest diesel exposures to the surrounding neighborhoods are: APM Terminals Pacific Ltd.; Eagle Marine Services Ltd.; International Transportation Service Inc.; SSA Terminal (Long Beach) LLC; SSA Terminals, LLC, Pacific Maritime Services LLC; Trapac Inc.; West Basin Container Terminal LLC; Yusen Terminals Inc.