Thursday, April 29, 2010

ATA, LA Port Rest Cases In Clean Truck Suit

Testimony has concluded in a federal lawsuit brought by the American Trucking Associations that seeks to overturn non-environmental aspects of the Port of Los Angeles' Clean Truck Program.

Attorneys for the port and city of Los Angeles rested their case Wednesday, bringing to a close seven days of testimony before Judge Christina Snyder. The judge has instructed both sides to file concluding briefs no later than May 14. She will take a tour of the port on Thursday, then plans to review the two sides' briefs before issuing a ruling.

The suit centers on a Los Angeles port truck scheme that took effect in October 2008 requiring port-servicing drayage firms to sign so-called ‘concession agreements’ as a requirement to gain access to port terminals. Firms without such an access license are barred from entering port facilities. The plan was originally conceived by the port as a means to bar older polluting trucks and force drayage firms to use newer and cleaner burning vehicles, thereby cutting port-generated diesel emissions.

However, the port included non-environmental criteria in the concession agreements, such as financial, maintenance, insurance, safety, parking and labor criteria that the ATA argues is preempted by federal interstate commerce law.

The ATA sued the city and port shortly before the port initiated to the program. The ATA, which did not oppose the environmental aspects of the truck plan – such as progressive bans on older model year trucks – also sought and later received an injunction against certain non-environmental components of the concession agreements.