The American Trucking Association ("ATA") bragged that its lawsuit, aimed at killing the truck concession plans of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, was a "slam dunk."  United States District Court Judge Christina Snyder disagreed in a ruling issued on September 9, 2008, denying ATA's request for a preliminary injunction that would have put the concession plans on ice. 

There are two main requirements for a preliminary injunction:  probability of success on the merits, and a showing of irreparable injury.  ATA threw up bricks on each issue. 

For a bit of context, ATA's motion was based on the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (the "FAAA"), part of which has a preemption clause for local regulation of trucking prices and services.  Within the FAAA, however, is a big exception for local measures that enhance safety.  The Ports argued that the L.A. and Long Beach concession agreements are necessary so that (among other reasons) the Ports can know who is driving onto their property - property that could be a major target for a terrorist attack.  Recognizing this, Judge Snyder ruled that the Ports showed a "significant probability" that their trucking concession plans are within the safety exception of the FAAA.  Airball no. 1 for ATA. 

ATA's efforts to prove irreparable injury were skimpy at best.  They offered exactly three declarations (out of 1,000 or more licensed trucking companies that work the Ports), none of which had more than speculation that their company would go out of business, lose customers, or suffer any more inconvenience than filling out some paperwork.  Arrayed against this was strong evidence of injury to the Ports by having Port security compromised, and injury to the public by allowing thousands upon thousands of old, dirty diesel trucks to continue driving down our streets without anyone responsible for cleaning them up.  What's worse for ATA is that big trucking companies that are ATA members have told the Ports that they want to work under the Ports' concession plans.  Based on this evidence, Judge Snyder ruled that ATA had not proved irreparable injury; nor had it proved that the balance of hardships tipped in its favor, or that the public interest supported an injunction.  Airball no. 2 for ATA.    

Judge Snyder's ruling keeps alive the most progressive, far-reaching clean trucking plan in the country.  Take a look at an excellent Newsweek piece on the LA and Long Beach ports.  Every port has the problems that the Ports of LA and Long Beach do because every port depends on diesel power to move freight.  In my view, every port can and should look to the Port of LA for a model of how to fix the problem of pollution from diesel trucks.