Truckers Address California Clean Air Plan

Oct. 16, 2007
The California Trucking Association (CTA) is calling for a collaborative effort to reach emissions goals. A first step would be changing the timetable

The California Trucking Association (CTA) is calling for a collaborative effort to reach emissions goals. A first step would be changing the timetable for implementation of the Clean Air Action Plan to a date that would be less disruptive than the current January 1, 2008 implementation date. "Everyone in the supply chain needs time to prepare and adjust to the potential impacts of this plan. Asking for a public timetable is not an extraordinary request but an essential one to businesses, consumers and the health of our economy," noted C.J. Nord of the California Furniture Manufacturers Association.

The CTA said the entities involved, such as the Ports of LA and Long Beach, the CTA, the California Retailers Association, California Furniture Manufacturing Association and California and Los Angeles Chambers, must work jointly on a plan that addresses flaws in the existing plan while keeping environmental goals intact.

Besides very real impacts to the national and international supply chain that runs through the ports, the plan as envisioned will also have grave economic impacts, says a statement by the CTA. "Based on the findings in a study conducted by economist John Husing, the plan that is now under review has serious problems, particularly recognizing that local carriers won't remain in the industry should the employee provision stand. The impact of a large loss of drivers that move goods into and out of the ports would be immediately felt and negatively impact the local and state economies," said Julie Sauls of the California Trucking Association.

One particular concern is over a provision requiring independent operators to become employees of what CTA described as a consolidated number of large concessionaires at the ports. It feels this would lead to a loss of drivers or at least a reduction in the number of drivers available to serve the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

CTA pointed out that while the trucking industry is only responsible for a tenth of the overall emissions at the port, it is committed to doing its fair share toward improving air quality at the ports.

CTA CEO Michael Campbell noted in his monthly commentary, “This is not the time to just criticize the proposals of state and local agencies. If we don’t go after what we want, we’ll never have it and will end up being stuck with plans that will burden the industry for years.” He continued, “This process is a dynamic one. Changes will and are expected to be proposed by the many interested parties until the final plans are adopted. It may be of concern to some members that CTA’s proposals and counter-proposals likewise will change based on the situation and circumstances. But, because the rationale of the participants on these issues seem to change continuously, CTA, likewise, revisits the proposals, their impacts and offers our counter-proposals often.”

Clearly, trucking interests don’t oppose the overall goal of improved air quality and lower emissions, it is being very straightforward in its desire to work cooperatively to find a solution that will address those needs while not causing serious economic damage to the industry itself or the trade flows it supports.

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