The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the constitutionality of an environmental regulation imposed by the Port of Los Angeles after a challenge brought by the American Trucking Associations was struck down in a district court in 2010.
One year later, the lower court’s decision was upheld by an appellate court.
In 2008, the ATA challenged the port’s new Clean Truck Program, which, among other things, banned trucks that didn’t meet the 2007 Federal Clean Truck Emissions Standards from the port and required a concession agreement for truckers using the port on a frequent basis. The ATA hasn’t taken issue with the truck standards or other parts of the rule; it’s the concession agreement that has the organization crying foul.
The organization argues the port has overstepped its bounds by regulating motor carrier decisions, something Congress has explicitly forbidden. ATA officials have said that on a strictly business sense, the port’s rules are illegal because they effect the pricing, route decisions and service offerings of truckers.
“The port's rules challenged by ATA, which range from a requirement that carriers display port-mandated information on the sides of trucks entering and leaving the port to a requirement that trucks conform to the port’s off-street parking rules even when not on port property, have nothing to do with improving air quality,” ATA President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Graves said.
“There is no need to interfere with Congress’ intention that the motor carrier industry be shaped by the forces of competition, under a uniform federal regulatory environment, and not by state and local governments that have their own ideas about how the industry should be structured,” he continued. “ATA is confident that the Supreme Court — which has repeatedly instructed that Congress’s deregulatory and preemptive intent is to be construed broadly — will agree.”
Reports suggest that the court will hear the case sometime in April, with an opinion expected by June. - Jon Ross