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Port of Long Beach drayage issue still unresolved

The court ordered the port to conduct a new study and report next week with a fresh a time frame for results.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
July 21, 2011

The ongoing drama at the Port of Long Beach took another turn this week when a federal judge ruled that the port made a crucial mistake three years ago by modifying its clean trucks program as part of a settlement with the American Trucking Associations (ATA). 

The court ordered the port to conduct a new study and report next week with a fresh a time frame for results. Judge Christina A. Snyder of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California said that failure to conduct an initial environmental study before the settlement, which modified the port’s clean trucks program, was a violation of the California Environmental Quality Act.

Plaintiffs, comprising the unlikely partnership of the Teamsters and the Sierra Club, argued the settlement weakened the program.

“This Court decision is a victory for Long Beach residents,” said Patricia Castellanos on behalf of the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports. “The ruling affirms concerns from clean air advocates that have long declared the Long Beach Port?s backroom deal nothing short of caving in to industry polluters at the expense of residents and the environment.”

Hyperbole and slang notwithstanding, no mention was made by the coalition about the jobs that would be lost if the port is forced to work only with unionized drivers.

Not so for Robin Lanier, executive director of the Waterfront Coalition:

“We are following efforts around the country to mandate the employment status of harbor truckers,” she told LM in an interview.  “Earlier this year a proposal popped up in the California legislature that reclassified all port truckers as employees.  It should come as no surprise that advocates for this policy are hard at work in other state capitols. Still lingering is the American Trucking Associations suit against the Port of Los Angeles concerning its employee mandate that seeks to accomplish much the same.  These proposals really punish many hard working men and women who have made substantial investments in state of the art clean truck equipment, These small businesses should be supported rather than punished.”

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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