Letter to Secretary LaHood by J. Craig Shearman VP, Government Affairs Public Relations, National Retail Federation
On behalf of the undersigned national and state associations representing importers, exporters, and the logistics industries and service providers that support them, we are writing to you about an important issue that could affect the competiveness and efficiency of U.S. ports. Several major U.S. ports, including the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Seattle, have launched Clean Truck Programs aimed at reducing diesel emissions of trucks entering the port terminals. We strongly support the goals and most elements of these Clean Truck Programs. However some organizations are now seeking to re-write longstanding federal trucking rules codified in the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) under the guise of the clean trucks initiatives. We urge you and the Administration to oppose these efforts as we believe they will be detrimental to interstate commerce and U.S. competitiveness.
There is currently a campaign underway to persuade Congress to grant to local governments the ability to regulate the trucking industry at ports to address environmental and port security matters, and thereby eliminate the federal preemption of state and local regulation of foreign and interstate commerce. While we strongly support efforts to improve air quality and port security in and around America’s ports, the effort to undermine federal preemption of interstate commerce is an attempt to overturn losses in the federal courts restricting local regulation of truck drayage services. If successful, these efforts will not improve air quality or port security in and around the nation’s ports, but will re-impose a fragmented, local, patchwork regulatory structure on foreign and interstate commerce, contrary to the U.S. Constitution and acts of Congress.
The members of the undersigned national associations move a substantial amount of the nation’s international commerce through America’s marine ports and along the surface transportation network of roads and rails. The harbor trucking industry is an integral component in the supply chains of U.S. industry that helps our nation’s exporters to reach markets overseas and replenish store shelves and assembly lines here in the United States.
Our member companies have a vested interest in making sure that the harbor trucking industry operates safely, efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner. In fact, many of our members are actively working with transportation providers to replace as quickly as possible the older harbor trucks serving marine terminals around the country with highly innovative clean equipment.
We have seen great success at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach who have achieved an estimated 80 percent reduction in diesel emissions under their current program, two years ahead of schedule. This result has been achieved without changes in federal law. In fact, the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) recently passed a policy position that states that the AAPA does not believe there is a need at this time to amend the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act because of the success of current clean truck programs that have been implemented without a change in the law.
In 2007, the Port of Los Angeles’ Clean Truck Program included a provision that would have banned any harbor trucking company from using independent owneroperator drivers, in favor of employee drivers and certain other onerous economicbased regulations. These restrictions, principally advocated by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, are specifically designed to eliminate competition from small independent businesses in favor of companies that the Teamsters believe could be more easily organized.
In 2008, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) filed suit against the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach1 under the legal argument that the truck concession portion of the Clean Trucks Program is preempted by fe