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FMC Drops Clean-Trucks Probe
Thursday, 30 July 2009 00:00

Commission acts after changes in Los Angeles-Long Beach rules, court rulings

The Federal Maritime Commission is ending its investigation of the Los Angeles-Long Beach clean-trucks program, saying developments since it launched the probe last September have significantly diminished the need for the agency’s involvement.

The FMC said it was dropping out of its role in the controversial trucks program a month after asking a federal court in Washington to drop a lawsuit the commission had filed against the port plans.

Several key issues in the FMC investigation, including the ports’ concession agreements and the Port of Los Angeles employee driver mandate, are the subject of an American Trucking Associations lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the FMC noted.

Also, the ports in recent months modified provisions in their program involving collection of a clean-trucks fee. The ports also amended their subsidy programs to help motor carriers purchase new trucks, addressing some of the commission’s concerns about those efforts.

As a result, the FMC said, the need to continue its investigation under Section 10 of the Shipping Act of 1984 is diminished.

“In view of the substantially changed circumstances with respect to the matters under investigation, the additional expenditure of resources to continue this proceeding is not warranted,” the FMC’s Bureau of Enforcement stated in the motion to dismiss it filed with the commission.

The FMC on June 16 had filed a motion with the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.; to drop a lawsuit the commission had filed seeking a preliminary injunction against certain aspects of the Los Angeles- Long Beach clean-trucks program. 

Litigation involving the port concession requirements in the clean-trucks program is now confined to the ATA lawsuit. The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, following an order from an appeals court, enjoined on April 28 certain aspects of the concession agreements, including some of the provisions that were of concern to the FMC.

The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has requested information from the parties and is scheduled to hear the case on its merits in December.

Journal of Commerce, 7/30/2009