The U.S. Supreme Court Thursday struck down two more concession requirements in the Port of Los Angeles clean-trucks program, further weakening the ability of a port to regulate harbor trucking for environmental or other goals.
The court ruled that the port’s requirement that harbor trucks display designated placards while in service in the harbor is a violation of federal pre-emption law. The court also ruled that the requirement that trucking companies develop off-street parking plans for their vehicles likewise violated federal law.
These decisions represent a partial victory for the American Trucking Associations, which initiated the lawsuit in an attempt to strike down all of the Port of Los Angeles requirements as a violation of federal law that stipulates only Congress can issue regulations affecting the rates, routes and services of motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce.
However, in a possible partial victory for the port, the Supreme Court declined to decide whether the penalty provisions in the port’s clean-trucks program pertaining to non-pre-empted provisions of federal law are in violation of federal law. Specifically, the court declined to deal with the financial capacity and truck maintenance requirements of the clean-trucks program.
The Port of Los Angeles, as part of its clean-trucks program to reduce harmful diesel emissions, had issued a number of concession requirements that harbor trucking companies must meet in order to carry containers to and from marine terminals.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had already struck down the main concession requirement, which was that harbor trucking companies must hire drivers as direct employees. If that requirement had stood, labor unions such as the Teamsters would have had an easier time organizing drivers.