Citing environmental concerns, the Port of Long Beach has decided to no longer sponsor any fireworks shows after next year—meaning that no more port dollars will go toward the Big Bang on the Bay or the annual July 4 pyrotechnic display along the city’s waterfront.
The Board of Harbor Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to end any spending to sponsor, advertise with or buy tickets for any event that features fireworks; the new policy becomes effective Jan. 1, 2025.
The port has provided between $3,500 and $5,000 each of the past three years for Big Bang on the Bay, and in 2022 it paid $40,000 to the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau as an advertising sponsor for a July 4 fireworks show that the city also helped sponsor.
Monday was the third time Commissioner Sharon Weissman had tried for a ban on fireworks sponsorships. She proposed it to the commission’s sponsorship committee in February and then to the full board in June but couldn’t get enough support to move forward until now.
Even if the environmental impact from fireworks is comparatively small, Weissman said Monday, financially supporting them undercuts port officials’ public comments that they’re working toward becoming a zero-emission facility.
“I will passionately defend what we do at the port as vital, but I cannot defend our support of polluting our air and water and the detrimental effects on humans and animals, the death and frightening of animals, the loss of pets, the employment of children in China, India, El Salvador, Guatemala and Peru to produce the explosives that are fireworks, and the triggering of our veterans who have PTSD as a result of service to our country,” Weissman said.
“We can’t be the leader on this issue, but let us not be the last.”
It’s already illegal to set off fireworks in Long Beach unless they’re part of a permitted, professional event. Commission President Bobby Olvera Jr. pointed out that the Monday decision doesn’t amount to a ban on fireworks shows.
In the future, the harbor department could potentially help organizations fund alternate celebrations such as drone light shows, Commissioner Bonnie Lowenthal said.