Ports' Air Quality Gains from Clean Trucks Plan in Jeopardy

Clean Trucks Program in Los Angeles Moves Forward For Now

LOS ANGELES (March 20, 2009) – On the first anniversary of the vote to adopt the landmark clean trucks program at the Port of Los Angeles, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals instructed the district court today to reconsider temporarily halting parts of the program until a trial is complete.  After losing their injunction request in district court to block the clean trucks program, the American Trucking Association (ATA) appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals contending that the ports overstepped legal boundaries when they implemented the trucks plan designed to achieve environmental and safety goals.   

The clean trucks program is expected to replace thousands of diesel trucks that enter port property every day spewing noxious gases and lethal fumes, which are known to contribute to chronic respiratory disease for thousands of port residents.  The program makes trucking companies accountable to meet environmental and other standards because they are in a better position to maintain equipment and push new technologies, especially electric trucks.

Following is a statement by David Pettit, senior attorney and director of NRDC’s Southern California Clean Air Program:

“This decision today places in jeopardy the clean air goals at the ports, as well as every port infrastructure expansion project that relies on clean trucks.  We’re going to vigorously fight to protect these truck plans in court.  Properly maintained, well-managed goods movement at the ports is good for business and good for the health of people living in port communities.”


Last July, the ATA filed suit against the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, attempting to block the clean trucks programs that went into effect October 1, 2008 and retired more than 2,000 pre-1989 diesel trucks from the fleet that serves the ports. In September, ATA lost their injunction request and appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  NRDC, Sierra Club, and the Coalition for Clean Air intervened to defend these programs.

Roughly 17,000 diesel cargo trucks are scheduled to be phased out during the next five years and replaced with EPA 2007 compliant trucks. Replacing the port truck fleet is expected to reduce truck-produced air pollution at the ports 80 percent by 2012.

For more information, read David Pettit’s blog at: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dpettit/