Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Los Angeles Port Increases Lobbying Effort Against Federal Trucking Regulation

While Long Beach port officials last week worked behind the scenes to hammer out a settlement with the American Trucking Associations and others regarding contentious portions of the LA/LB ports’ Clean Truck Program, Los Angeles port officials were voting to increase lobbying efforts to change federal trucking deregulation laws to allow local port authorities to regulate truckers serving US ports.

Last week, Los Angeles port commissioners agreed to add another $55,000 to the port’s contract with Washington, DC-based lobbying firm, The Gephardt Group. Headed by former House of Representatives Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, the firm was hired by the port earlier this year to lobby for changes to federal laws regarding federal primacy over trucking industry regulation. The port is seeking to change federal laws that trucking industry groups have already used in federal court to obtain an injunction against portions of the Los Angeles port’s version of the Clean Trucking Program. The new funds would bring the port’s total contract with The Gephardt Group, which lasts through the end of January, 2010, to just over $205,000.

In a letter to Los Angeles port officials in August, a group of 25 national and regional trade and transportation groups opposed the port’s moves to lobby for change to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (F4A).

“We strongly oppose the efforts of the [LA] port to support changing longstanding federal law, the F4A, to include a provision within the Clean Truck Plan that has nothing to do with reducing truck emissions,” said the letter. “We urge the port to cease its efforts in support of proposals to Congress to amend the F4A, and instead to work with its customers to address the real issues that face the port today.”

This week, officials at the Long Beach port announced that they had reached an agreement with the American Trucking Associations that is expected to result in Long Beach being removed from ongoing litigation over the 13-month-old Clean Truck Program.