The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a trucking industry challenge to rules that Los Angeles adopted five years ago designed to curb truck emissions at the nation's busiest port.
The case (American Trucking Associations vs. City of Los Angeles) will determine the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Clean Truck Program at the Port of Los Angeles. Similar rules are also in force at the nearby Port of Long Beach. The question centers on whether cities and states have authority to limit pollution from trucks moving long-haul cargo.
The answer to that question would seem obvious, especially in environmental circles, but the ATA contends that the local clean truck regulations run afoul of a federal law that deregulated motor carriers. So, it gets complicated. There is a provision in the law that preempts any state or local measure that is "related to the price, route or service of any motor carrier." The purpose of that provision is to speed the free flow of trucks, buses and other shippers and to prevent local or state rules that would add costs to those movements.