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New York Senator introduces nationwide clean ports bill

The Teamsters and environmental groups have sought for some time to make an end run around the ban controversy to allow the Port of L.A. and then other ports, to oust owner-operators in favor of employee drivers, with some calling it a thinly veiled attempt to set up ports for union organizing.

The Trucker News Services

12/22/2011

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has introduced a bill that would allow ports across the U.S. to have their own versions of the Clean Trucks Program promulgated by the Port of Los Angeles.

Called the Clean Ports Act, it would amend federal law to allow ports nationwide to establish their own plans to reduce diesel emissions in and around their facilities, according to DailyBreeze.com in Los Angeles.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this fall threw out the part of the L.A. Port’s Clean Trucks program that would have banned independent owner-operators in favor of carriers hiring drivers as employees. The Port of Long Beach had a similar program but didn’t ban owner-operators.

An American Trucking Associations spokesman pointed out that a Republican-controlled House is unlikely to give the Gillibrand bill a do-pass.

Curtis Whalen, executive director of ATA’s Intermodal Carriers Conference, said it was probably a maneuver to give unions a year-end rallying point.

He noted that there have been rumblings about passing similar legislation all year.

Last year, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the senior Northeastern Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced the Clean Ports Act of 2010, which failed.

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It would have amended the Federal Motor Carrier Act to allow ports to enact and enforce clean truck programs and implement environmental programs “above the current federal requirements,” according to the bill’s language.

The Teamsters and environmental groups have sought for some time to make an end run around the ban controversy to allow the Port of L.A. and then other ports, to oust owner-operators in favor of employee drivers, with some calling it a thinly veiled attempt to set up ports for union organizing.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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