Owner-ops get political support in California ports

LOS ANGELES — A California congressman has joined the ranks of opposition to efforts that would ban independent owner-ops from hauling off the docks of some State ports.

Not long after the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles’ Clean Port program was rolled out, a U.S. federal judge granted an injunction, at urging from the American Trucking Associations, on aspects for the program, including a requirement for drayage carriers to only use company drivers.

The Coalition for Clean and Safe Ports, however, has teamed up with the Teamsters in an effort to get the ruling reversed, which was based on a federal law. The groups who are in full support of all the aspects of the Clean Ports Program are pushing Congress to change the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA), which prevents state and local jurisdictions from regulating interstate trucking and commerce.

U.S. Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) this week released a “Dear Colleague” letter opposing the effort.

“Compliance with air quality standards should be determined on a truck by truck basis without regard to the employee or ownership status of the driver of that truck,” Miller said.

“We believe that protecting our environment by reducing truck emissions is an important mission that we must undertake, and it is easy to see that our nation’s ports play a vital role in that effort,” Miller’s letter said. “Industry stakeholders, including many small businesses, have shown that they are taking a proactive approach to meeting environmental goals as they have made significant investments in clean equipment.

“It is important that we do not get distracted by unnecessary provisions and mandates that are not related to environmental goals and could have long term, negative consequences on interstate commerce.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers also oppose any change to the FAAAA. In their letters circulated on Capitol Hill, the organizations say ports already have the ability to implement environmental programs that clean the air.

The American Association of Port Authorities also refused to endorse the Port of Los Angeles position on amending the FAAAA. That organization, which represents more than 140 port authorities, expressly rejected a Port of Los Angeles backed resolution calling for the amendment of the FAAAA.

Instead the Association’s Legislative Policy Council passed a resolution stating that ports already have sufficient latitude to ban old, polluting trucks.

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