ATA asks Supreme Court to toss part of port’s Clean Trucks Program

The American Trucking Assns. filed a petition late last week asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning several aspects of the Port of Los Angeles' version of the Clean Trucks Program

The American Trucking Assns. filed a petition late last week asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning several aspects of the Port of Los Angeles’ version of the Clean Trucks Program.

ATA seeks to toss out off-street parking limits, maintenance and security provisions, and a mandate that freight haulers show financial capability to do business at the port.

The move comes on the heels of an ATA victory in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that tossed out a controversial provision of the Clean Trucks Program that would have mandated that all port truckers be company employees, banning use of owner-operators for port hauling operations.

However, the three-judge appeals panel ruled 2-1 in favor of allowing the port to impose the less controversial elements contained in the program, which ATA is asking the Supreme Court to review. The Port of Los Angeles has until the end of January to respond to ATA’s request.

If the nation’s highest court takes the case, it could be heard by next fall.

“Basically, the one major portion that gets all the headlines is the employee mandate issue, but what’s left wide open right now is the issue of market participation,” said Curtis Whalen, executive director of ATA’s Intermodal Carrier’s Conference said in a Long Beach Press-Telegram report.

“It seems to us that this whole concept gives the port wide latitude under a law that is much more narrow in its focus,” Whalen said.

Port officials said they are reviewing ATA’s petition and intend to file an opposing argument next month.

“The port’s concession agreement is the backbone of our successful Clean Truck Program and we’re confident its provisions, upheld by several lower courts, will continue to be upheld by the Supreme Court, if it decides to hear the case,” said Phillip Sanfield, a spokesman for the Port of Los Angeles.

The ATA filed a federal lawsuit shortly after the $1.6 billion Clean Trucks Program was enacted three years ago, requiring all big rigs entering the port to meet 2007 federal emissions standards by Jan. 1, 2012.

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