Thursday, January 7, 2010

ATA Fires Back At Enviro Groups' Lawsuit Against Port of Long Beach Truck Plan

The American Trucking Associations, which represent more than 37,000 member motor carriers nationwide, is dismissing a lawsuit filed by environmental groups alleging an agreement between the Port of Long Beach and the ATA will reduce pollution control plans as "baseless and inaccurate."

The settlement, agreed to in October 2009, removed portions of the port's Clean Truck Program that the ATA had objected to in federal court while still allowing the port to retain control over truck access to the port terminals. At the time of the settlement, these portions of the truck program were already under an injunction by a federal court.

"The settlement agreement between the ATA and Long Beach did not make any change that would reduce, let alone reverse, the port's progress in cleaning the air," said Clayton Boyce, ATA's Press Secretary and Vice President for Public Affairs.

"What is cleaning the air is the progressive banning of older trucks. The settlement agreement with the ATA gives the Port of Long Beach everything it needs, and everything it wanted, to continue banning older trucks. The port has the control. If the truck does not meet the requirements, the Port of Long Beach will not let it in the gate," said Boyce.

The National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club filed the suit against the Port of Long Beach last week, alleging that the port violated city laws in agreeing to the settlement and that the settlement will reduce the pollution controls of the truck program.

However, the ATA claims that neither issue is at the heart of the two groups' litigation efforts.

"The NRDC and the Sierra Club intend to force the Port of Long Beach (and every other port in the nation) to ban independent owner-operators in order to make all port drivers company employees who can be organized by the Teamsters," said Boyce. "The NRDC is lashing out in anger at the Port of Long Beach because it refused to ban owner-operators."