Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced The Clean Ports Act of 2011 (S. 2011). It would reverse a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and grant to local governments the ability to regulate interstate and foreign commerce by trucks within the port jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit ruled only the federal government has the power to regulate truck interstate and foreign commerce.
The Clean Ports Act would give ports the authority to regulate truck prices, routes and service in order to improve pollution, congestion and safety. It is designed to create a legal foundation for the type of concession plan the Port of Los Angeles attempted to set up as part of its clean-port program, which would have required drayage drivers to be employees and not independent contractors. That aspect of the LA concession plan was thrown out last October by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
This is the companion legislation to a measure introduced in the House last February by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. That bill was referred to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which under Republican leadership is not likely to act on it.
The associations told Reid, "Clean truck plans that have been enacted under current law have reaped tremendous reductions in emissions. If enacted into law, this bill would void the enormous investments made by many small businesses and put them out of work."
Joel Anderson, IWLA president and CEO, said the bill was one more example of unions pressuring elected officials for the purpose of mandating union-organized businesses. "The goal of this legislation is to handcuff private business owners into adopting a business model that only union business agents would find acceptable."