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American Trucking Ass'ns v. Los Angeles, City of

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20128
Nos. 11-798, (U.S., 06/13/2013)

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down portions of the Los Angeles port's "Clean Truck Program," which was designed in part to reduce emissions related to port operations, including emissions from trucks. The concession agreements implementing the plan set forth a number of provisions covering, among other things, employee drivers, off-street parking, maintenance, placards, and financial capability. A trucking association argued that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAA Act) preempted these provisions. A lower court rejected the claims, and the Ninth Circuit held that only the employee-driver provision was preempted. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that the FAAA Act also preempts the concession agreement's placard and parking requirements. FAAA Act §14501(c)(1) preempts a state "law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier . . . with respect to the transportation of property." The port's placard and parking requirements clearly relate to a motor carrier's price, route, or service with respect to transporting property, and the port exercised classic regulatory authority in imposing the requirements. It forced terminal operators—and through them, trucking companies—to alter their conduct by implementing a criminal prohibition punishable by imprisonment. The placard and parking provisions therefore have "the force and effect of law." Kagan, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. Thomas, J., filed a concurring opinion.