Community Coalition Outraged at Industry Attempt to Put Lifesaving Clean-Air Programs at Risk; Vows to Fight at All Costs to Protect LA Green-Growth Model for Nation’s Ports

For Immediate Release: March 20, 2009
Contact: Barb Maynard, 323-351-9321 or Coral Lopez, 310-956-5712

http://blog.cleanandsafeports.org/ or www.cleanandsafeports.org

Community Coalition Outraged at Industry Attempt to Put
Lifesaving Clean-Air Programs at Risk; Vows to Fight at All
Costs to Protect LA Green-Growth Model for Nation’s Ports

Environmentalists, community members and port drivers expressed outrage at the nation’s
largest trucking lobby’s repeated efforts to kill a pair of critical-clean air programs in the San
Pedro Bay after a Court of Appeals panel sent a favorable ruling back to the U.S. District
Court. The panel suggested that the District Court was wrong when it denied the American
Trucking Association’s request for an injunction that could shut down the Ports’ Clean
Trucks Programs.

The 40 public health, environmental, community, labor and faith-based organizations united
in the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports vowed to use every legal and political option to
prevent efforts by the American Trucking Association, a Virginia-based organization
committed to the unaccountable market ideology that has created pollution and poverty at
our nation’s seaports.

“While the hired guns high-five one another, my kids gasp for air,” said Alicia Carrera, a
Long Beach mother of three asthmatic children. “This is more dirty tricks from a shameless
industry that has bullied its way around our backyard for too long.”

Environmentalists agree that harbor-area children, port workers and Southern California
residents have breathed easier since the programs went into effect last October and that
shelving any component would have dire impact on public health, safety and security.

Although the ATA claimed harm, some of their member companies jumped in to the port
drayage market precisely because of the existence of the Clean Trucks Programs, and
several CEOs actively lobbied at the federal level to ensure key provisions moved forward.
Furthermore, President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, CA Senators
Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and the entire state Democratic delegation in
Congress lauded LA’s green-growth policy for its potential to stimulate good job creation,
spur environmentally-sound future expansion, and create a level-playing field for companies
to compete.

In order to meet state air regulations, save lives and pave the way for future growth, the Port
of LA was compelled to dramatically reduce truck emissions within five years by adopting a
“concession model” that relied on powerful financial incentives and rebates to assist
businesses large and small to take responsibility for fleet turnover.

“The Los Angeles Harbor Commission, City Council, and Mayor Villaraigosa did the right
thing in passing a comprehensive, sustainable Clean Trucks Program,” said Colleen
Callahan of the American Lung Association of California. “Not only do public health
advocates support it, economists agree it will boost the regional economy and help
responsible companies compete at a time when we need it the most.“

The ATA fought the new standards, including the Port of Long Beach’s minimal
concessionaire requirements which were widely viewed as friendly to the worst actors in a
highly polluting industry. Clean air, they argued, was a perfectly good goal provided that
individual workers behind the wheel of the trucks – not those who profit from goods
movement – had to pay the cost of cleaner commerce.

An injunction could put into question how the ports will meet air regulations to prevent new
cases of asthma, respiratory illness and death – and who will pay for it – until the full case
goes to trial.

“This decision places in jeopardy the clean-air goals at the ports, as well as every port
infrastructure expansion project that relies on clean trucks,” said attorney David Pettit of the
Natural Resources Defense Council, which successfully sued the Port of Los Angeles in
2001 alongside community groups, forcing the harbor commissions of the San Pedro Bay to
get serious about clean-up. “We are going to vigorously fight to protect these truck plans in
court.”

NRDC has argued it is imperative for trucking companies to assume the responsibility for
owning green trucks because they are in the best position to maintain the cleanest-available
technology, as underpaid “independent” drivers lack the stability or capital to assume the
burden. Port drivers take home on average $29,000 a year, a figure derived before the
recession caused cargo volume to drop, which decreases their income.

Roger Andino, a driver with six years of experience who hauls for Southern Counties
Express, a small company that purchased over 100 new clean trucks, expressed fear: “Now
that I’m finally an employee, it’s scary for me and my family to think my boss could turn me
back into an independent contractor to force me to buy or lease a new truck. I couldn’t afford
a clean energy truck a year ago and I definitely can’t afford one now.”

“I don’t want the port truck drivers who earn third-world wages to be forced to pay for cleaner
commerce,” said Carrera. “Shame on the ATA for their plot to perpetuate a broken system
that makes communities suffer and forces taxpayers to foot the bill. It is immoral to place
profit above people and public health.”

“This broad coalition came together to end the public health crisis caused by the undeniable
link between poverty and pollution,” said Callahan. “Southern Californians deserve a strong
port program that ensures companies take full responsibility for a new fleet of low-emissions
and alt-fuel trucks. We will not stop fighting until we achieve a stable and sustainable port
trucking market that no longer puts anyone’s lungs or livelihoods at risk.”

The Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports includes: American Lung Association of California • Clergy & Laity United for
Economic Justice (CLUE) • Coalition for Clean Air • Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles • Coalition for
a Safe Environment • Communities for a Better Environment • Communities for Clean Ports • East Yard Communities for
Environmental Justice • Engineers and Architects Association • Harbor Watts Economic Development Corporation •
Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana • Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma • Long Beach Community
Partners Council • Long Beach Greens • Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy • Los Angeles/Long Beach Labor
Coalition • Mexican American Political Association • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,
Carson/Torrance (NAACP) • Natural Resources Defense Council • Physicians for Social Responsibility • Progressive
Christians Uniting • San Pedro Democratic Club • Sierra Club Harbor Vision Taskforce • Change to Win • L.A. County
Federation of Labor • UNITE HERE Local 11 • UNITE HERE Local 681 • IAM Lodge 1484 • IBEW Local 11 • IBT Joint
Council 42 • IBT Local 63 • IBT Local 495 • IBT Local 630 • Local 848 • IBT Local 952 • SEIU Local 1877 • Southern
California Council of Laborers