L.A. clean truck plan back on hold
A federal judge tentatively agreed to halt the Port of Los Angeles from moving ahead with a plan to require employee truckers rather than independent owner-operators to move cargo on and off its terminals while a dispute over the plan is under appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder for the Central District of California tentatively issued an injunction Monday that would prevent the port from imposing the employee driver mandate that is part of it “clean truck” program, even though she ruled in the port’s favor back in September.
The port has issued a timetable under which 20 percent of motor carrier drivers must be employees by the end of 2011, 66 percent by the end of 2012, and 100 percent by the end of 2013.
“Although the court does not doubt the accuracy of its own findings and legal conclusions, it recognizes that the interpretation and application of the market participant doctrine in this case present substantial and novel legal questions,” Snyder said.
• Truckers find loophole in clean truck programs
In her September decision, Snyder said the port was not simply acting as a regulator of trucking, and therefore subject to preemption by the federal government, but as a proprietor or market participant.
Curtis Whalen, executive director of the American Trucking Associations’ Intermodal Motor Carriers Conference, which is seeking the injunction, said his group was pleased with the tentative decision, and said a final decision was expected in several days. But he cautioned the judge could still alter her decision.
Snyder said she would not issue an injunction to prevent the port from going ahead with a requirement for off-street parking of drayage trucks.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports, a group backed by both the Teamsters and environmental groups, complained the ATA's 'latest attack prevents a legally sound environmental cleanup program that has earned the praise of the EPA, elected leaders, economists and port authorities nationwide from fully moving forward.”
It said it would “work with Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., to pass the Clean Ports Act of 2010 this session to put an end to the ATA's ongoing efforts to thwart the L.A. Clean Truck Program as well as clean fleet turnover plans at seaports across the country.” ' Chris Dupin