Judge Allows Port to Go Ahead with Clean Trucks
With final ruling, truckers urged to sign up for air quality program
September 10, 2008
A U.S. District Court judge finalized a ruling Tuesday, September 9, 2008, refusing to halt the Port of Long Beach's landmark Clean Trucks Program, which on October 1 will start improving the region's air quality by banning the oldest, most polluting trucks.
Judge Christina Snyder cited the Program's environmental and security requirements in dismissing a request by the American Trucking Association for a preliminary injunction.
"Enjoining the (Clean Truck Program's) concession agreements would have the potential to compromise security measures, which could significantly harm the public interest in secure ports," Snyder wrote in a 26-page ruling. "Furthermore, the public also has an important interest in ensuring that the environmental benefits from the Clean Trucks Program are implemented..."
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster said, "This is a huge victory for the City and the Port of Long Beach. From the beginning, our goal has been to help clean the air and do it as quickly and responsibly as possible. Our Port is one of the city's most critical and important assets. We have a responsibility to Long Beach citizens and the region to take bold steps to clean the air."
James Hankla, president of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, said, "Our Clean Trucks Program will bring a new generation of clean trucks and clean air to this region, and begin a new era in port security."
The American Trucking Association sought to stop the Port from using a concession system to require trucking firms to dispatch only clean trucks to the Port and dispatch only drivers who have undergone a security background check and obtained a federal Transportation Worker Identification Credential. On Monday, Judge Snyder had issued a temporary order rejecting the preliminary injunction.
The Clean Trucks Program on October 1 will start phasing out dirty trucks from port service by barring all 1988 and older vehicles. By 2012, all trucks entering Port terminals must have engines that meet 2007 federal emission standards, which are 80 percent cleaner than existing engines. Also on October 1, the Port will begin assessing a temporary fee of $35 per a 20-foot-long cargo container to fund a one-time truck replacement financial assistance program that will help truck owners to quickly comply with the clean truck deadlines.
Thousands of truckers have already signed on to the Port's Clean Trucks Program, promising to transition to clean trucks. The Port is urging all truckers to join in improving air quality and moving cargo.