Truckers protest Northwest Seaport Alliance plan to phase out older trucks

Trucks line up at the Port of Tacoma during a truck inspection event.

Trucks line up at the Port of Tacoma during a truck inspection event.

An open letter by “A thousand upset truckers” to the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) was posted on the Facebook page of PierTrucker.com/Seattle, declaring its opposition to the planned phase-out of trucks with pre-2007 engines contained in proposed House Bill 2601.

The bill directs “all drayage trucks delivering or receiving goods from a high-volume port must meet the emission standards adopted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for new vehicles with heavy duty highways engines applicable to 2007 and later model years, as codified in 40 CFR Section 86.007-11,” as of Jan. 1, 2019.

The truckers described their frustration over House Bill 2601 and want those in power to “know first-hand how useless and expensive is to try to run these newer models; you have heard from a lot of us how upsetting is to work even harder just to pay for repairs.”

House Bill 2601 was reported by Overdrive as an attempt by the NWSA to enforce state-sponsored policies that seek to force all drayage truck operators to switch to newer models with the goal of enforcing zero emissions for all vehicles coming in and out of the ports of Seattle. NWSA also has members from Tacoma in the state of Washington and Vancouver across the Canadian border in the state of British Columbia.

The truckers stated how the proposed policies in the bill are not necessary, claiming that “as long as a truck passes the emissions test, and the [Department of Transportation] inspection, that vehicle is fully and lawfully able to operate and conduct business.” Similar to how the Rhode Island Trucking Association questioned the science behind a study on tolls and their impact on truck-related emissions, the truckers also questioned the studies used to justify the bill.

“We have truckers and longshoremen that have been breathing these fumes for 10, 20, 30 or even more years without a single case reported that they acquired cancer of any other lethal illness from being around truck fumes all these years,” they said. They noted that the filtration system installed is as much for smog filtration but rather to “reduce the noise.”

The truckers attributed much of the emissions to cargo vessels and cranes, claiming “they produce in 10 minutes what we produce in weeks or months.” Suspicion about the agenda to phase-out the older models was expressed as well in the letter, stating, “somehow suspicious that NWSA is helping the truck manufacturers get rid of the junk they produced when they started using this new emission system.”

A potential lawsuit was suggested, “if we are forced to get newer equipment.”

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