The Port of Long Beach and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) announced a settlement resolving the final legal challenge to the port's year old clean trucks program. The National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) reported the settlement should end litigation with the Port of Long Beach, but it does not affect issues with the Port of Los Angeles.
Stressing that it supports environmental, clean air and security initiatives at the port, the ATA had opposed a concession agreement that called for carriers providing drayage services at the Port of Long Beach to meet certain criteria ATA said had no correlation with environmental or security goals.
The settlement, according to NITL, is based upon a new motor carrier registration process, referred to as a Registration and Agreement. This will replace the port‘s Concession Agreement contained in its existing Clean Truck Program. All motor carriers wishing to perform drayage services at the port must, register with the port through the new Registration and Agreement Form and agree to provide certain operational information to assist the port in monitoring motor carrier compliance with various safety, environmental and security regulations pertaining to the provision of drayage services at the port. Registration by a motor carrier is effective upon submission of the completed form accompanied by the $250 registration fee.
NITL comments that unlike the earlier concession contract, the new Registration and Agreement does not allow the port the discretion to reject an otherwise qualified motor carrier that has submitted a proper port drayage registration. “In addition, elements of the prior concession contract that ATA viewed as unrelated to appropriate port regulatory oversight, such as financial capability, truck routing, parking off port property, and hiring preferences, were also eliminated,” noted NITL.
The port also agreed that records pertaining to the performance of drayage services at the port shall be maintained by the port as confidential to the extent permitted by the California Public Records Act.
Richard Steinke, executive director, Port of Long Beach, called the settlement “good news, not only for the port, but also for the cause of clean air.” He pointed out that the Clean Trucks Program has been in place at the Port of Long Beach for a year and, as a result, the port is ahead of schedule on achieving air pollution reductions. By January 1, 2010, he estimates, the program will be nearly two years ahead of its pollution reduction goals.
Opponents were not satisfied and the Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports issued a statement under the headline, “Long Beach Port Caves to Trucking Industry Polluters at Expense of Community, Environment.”
The Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports (CCSP) claimed, “Mayor Bob Foster’s willingness to sacrifice big-rig emissions reductions to curry favor with port customers comes one day after New York and Newark’s Mayor[s] Bloomberg and Booker joined Los Angeles and Oakland Mayors Villaraigosa and Dellums in calling on Congress to help protect the more successful and sustainable LA Clean Truck Program as the green-growth model to replicate at ports nationwide.”
“The Port of Long Beach violated the public trust and sold out the citizens of Long Beach by approving a worthless settlement agreement with the American Trucking Association in their lawsuit against the Los Angeles ports’ clean trucks programs,” said David Pettit, a senior attorney of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Rather than clean up the trucks that serve its port, Long Beach ran away from a fight with ATA—an organization that has opposed clean air regulation locally and nationally—and is content to sit on the sidelines while the Port of Los Angeles pays to clean up the trucks that serve both ports.”
Long Beach Port executive director Steinke responded saying, “Natural Resources Defense Council‘s real objection to the Long Beach program has nothing to do with clean air. By aligning itself with the Teamsters, who have been very public about their campaign to unionize port truckers nationwide, the NRDC is pursuing an agenda beyond air quality.”
The language and tone escalates from there, but importantly, a federal district court judge dismissed the ATA lawsuit against the Port of Long Beach after approving the settlement. And again, the litigation against the Port of Los Angeles is expected to continue.
The National Industrial Transportation League will hold its annual meeting at the Anaheim Convention Center November 15-18, 2009.
Background stories on this issue:
Retail Association and Clean Trucks Partner For Clean Air (Sep 25, 2009)
Long Beach Modifies Clean Truck Program (May 7, 2009)
California Ports' Clean Trucks Could Go To Trial (May 7, 2009)
Federal Maritime Claim of Harm in LA Port Program Denied (Apr 23, 2009)
Port Action Could Harm Truckers, Says Court (Mar 25, 2009)
Clean Trucks: LA Port Issues Incentives To Truckers (Jan 6, 2009)
Saturday OffPeak Shift Dropped At LA (Jan 6, 2009)
Pacer and Penney Support Clean Trucks (Dec 10, 2008)
Federal Maritime Commission to Seek Ports Injunction (Nov 6, 2008)