A suit by the American Truckers Association hasn't even been filed yet, but already there are expectations of a significant delay in the pollution control programs enacted by the ports of L.A. and Long Beach. Both ports were set to begin phasing in a ban of the oldest trucks on Oct. 1, but any litigation could delay the process by a year or more. “If that happens, it puts everything on hold until the case is decided or the injunction is lifted,” attorney Su Ross told the LABJ. Each port has a slightly different plan, but they both center on replacing short-haul diesel trucks with cleaner burning models. The ATA says that the conversion amounts to the ports dictating standards for a federally deregulated industry.
Trucking companies said the ports have overstepped their bounds by putting restrictions on who can and cannot operate in the ports. For example, the ports will be able to verify a trucking company’s financial standing in order to let the trucking firm transport cargo at the ports. The trucking group claims that violates federal interstate commerce laws by restricting companies from operating their businesses freely. The Port of Los Angeles went a step further by ending the now-common practice of independent driver contracting and requiring the companies to hire employee drivers – a provision backed by union officials and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that critics said will open the door for driver unionization. Trucking companies have said that would force them to radically change the way they do business and may result in many trucking companies going out of business.