Judge won’t issue injunction; ATA seeks review of port suit denial

| 9/12/2008

A federal judge has officially rejected the American Trucking Association’s request for an injunction to stop a restrictive licensing plan for the trucks that enter the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach every day.

The twin ports approved similar clean truck programs aimed at cutting emissions from the estimated 16,000 older trucks that frequent the ports daily. In addition to requirements phasing out older trucks, the plans require trucks entering the ports to be licensed concessionaires and to meet a host of conditions.

The ATA sued in July, saying the Clean Trucks Plans’ concessionaire limits violated federal statutes that protect interstate commerce.

Judge Christina Snyder wrote that the public “has a significant interest in ensuring that the Ports are safe from security concerns,” and said stopping the concession plan could harm port security. Snyder also noted the public health aspect of the Clean Trucks Program, which environmentalists have said could help mitigate the estimated 3,000 lives lost annually attributed to pollutants from the ports.

“The plaintiff has not demonstrated that failure to grant the injunction will result in irreparable injury,” Snyder wrote. “Finally, the balance of hardships and the public interest tip decidedly in favor of denying the injunction.”

Both ports have said they’ll allow long-haulers to make 12 visits to the ports per year, although each visit will cost $100.

OOIDA officials have said they’ll continue to discuss their views with port leaders, including the Association’s concerns that the $100 price is too high.

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer