Kamala Harris Supports the Clean Truck Program—and So Should Your Member of Congress!

Last month, California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case in support of efforts by the Port of Los Angeles to reduce air pollution through its Clean Trucks program.

The Port of Los Angeles, together with the Port of Long Beach, constitutes the fifth-largest port in the world.  169 million tons of cargo pass through the Port of Los Angeles every year, most transported on land by a fleet of 16,000 diesel trucks, which are prolific emitters of air polluting exhaust.

But last fall, air breathers and truck drivers in Los Angeles won a landmark legal victory when a California district judge ruled in favor of the Los Angeles Clean Truck program. This allowed the Port of Los Angeles to enforce all the provisions of one of the most effective diesel reduction programs in the country!

It also refuted polluting industries’ old, worn-out lie that says we have to pick between good jobs and a safe environment.

Because the Clean Trucks program has proved to work so well, members of Congress are finally considering conducting a hearing to understand the success of the Los Angeles Clean Truck program and discuss possible federal solutions to reduce the pollution that makes the air in our nation’s portside communities unsafe for children.

This Clean Truck program also tackles the issue of truck driver misclassification.  Right now, trucking companies illegally classify drivers as “contractors” instead of “employees”, allowing them to pay drivers a bare minimum wage, and lay the financial burden of keeping the truck fleets “clean” on the drivers.  Forcing drivers to be financially responsible for the maintenance of their fleets is unfair, especially considering that their small $10-12 hourly wage allows no breathing room for the upkeep that trucking companies profit from.

The Clean Truck program shifts the cost of clean air from the poverty-wage truck drivers to the wealthy, powerful companies that run the ports.  It’s smart, it’s fair, and as results show, it’s working!