Los Angeles mayor launches Clean Truck Program

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Wednesday, Oct. 1, officially launched the Clean Truck Program, the centerpiece of what the city calls the most ambitious air-pollution cleanup initiative in the nation, immediately banning more than 10 percent of port trucks — or 2,000 dirty-diesel trucks — from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

“Today, we are launching the Clean Truck Program, and immediately, we will take 2,000 of the dirtiest diesel-spewing trucks off the road and start reducing the choking pollution in L.A. and Long Beach,” Villaraigosa said. “People said the fight would be too hard, but we kept on trucking because we knew that the people of our port communities needed relief. We can proudly say that our Clean Truck Program will begin on schedule, as planned, with more than enough drivers, trucking companies and clean trucks to meet the port’s demand.”

The CTP immediately bans trucks built before 1989, the first year of diesel pollution control, and by 2012, bars any truck that doesn’t meet the cleanest 2007 emissions standards. When fully implemented in 2012, the CTP aims to remove more than 16,000 diesel trucks from the roads and reduce harmful emissions by 80 percent.

As of Wednesday, 598 companies had signed up to participate in the program, which means they are agreeing to abide by the environmental, operational and security requirements, Villaraigosa said; these 598 companies will be using more than 21,000 clean trucks to haul goods from the ports to the rest of the region. The CTP had set an initial goal of at least 10,000 trucks.

The CTP is the centerpiece of Villaraigosa’s Clean Air Action Plan, which was adopted in November 2006 to clean up the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the leading air polluters for the greater L.A. region.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Sept. 24 denied a request by the American Trucking Associations for an injunction to prevent the Port of Los Angeles’ concession program from going into operation on Wednesday. ATA says it will continue to have an appeal pending from District Judge Christina Snyder’s denial of a preliminary injunction.

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The appeals court, at the same time that it denied ATA’s request for an injunction, also denied ATA’s motion to expedite its appeal. According to the L.A. port, it appears unlikely that ATA’s appeal will be decided until after completion of full briefing and argument in 2009.

ATA’s litigation focuses on the ports’ requirement to force carriers to sign concessionaire agreements with the ports. The association argued that the concessions would impose a broad range of operational requirements that recreate a regulatory environment comparable to state intrastate economic regulation, which is federally preempted. ATA also says it is especially troubled by the Port of Los Angeles’ plan to ban independent contractors within five years.