(August 7, 2002, posted as breaking news, 12:15 p.m.) -- In a dramatic announcement at a CA Senate committee hearing today, LB area Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal announced that he has agreed to amend his anti-pollution, anti-idling truck bill to remove "all opposition" to the bill.
The bill, which previously passed by the Assembly on a bipartisan 66-7 vote, would reduce diesel emissions by limiting the allowable time trucks can idle in port terminals to 30 minutes and fine terminal operators when trucks can't make pick ups and deliveries within that half hour window.
Assemblyman Lowenthal described to the Senate Local Government Committee the amendments agreed to by him as follows:
- "I've added language that states if a terminal sets up an appointment system that's fair, does not discriminate against any truckers, has a window of 60 minutes and the trucker makes the appointment but ends up idling or queuing outside of the gate for longer than 30 minutes, then the terminal operator shall be fined.
- "However, if the terminal operator sets up this appointment system and the trucker does not make their appointment and idles longer than 30 minutes, the terminal shall not be fined.
- "Additionally, the terminal shall not fine or turn away a trucker for missing an appointment.
- "There was a question on the force majeure section of the bill, so I've taken an amendment that exempts the terminal from a fine if the air district finds that an unavoidable or unforeseeable event caused trucks to idle for longer than 30 minutes and that the terminal is in good faith compliance with this act."
Assemblyman Lowenthal went on to say, "This bill is a major victory for the health of all of our communities and for all communities that live near ports."
Various parties then indicated their support for AB 2650 as amended, including: CA Trucking Ass'n, Mayor of City of Rolling Hills Estates and Bd member of Southbay Cities Council of Governments [unclear on whose behalf indicating support), Teamsters (co-sponsor of bill), South Coast Air Quality Management District, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, American Lung Ass'n of CA, CA Association of Port Authorities (withdrawing previous opposition), Stevedoring Services of America, American President Lines (withdraws previous opposition), Pacific Merchant Shipping Ass'n (withdraws previous opposition), Quickway Trucking [sp?] Co.
2d district Councilman Dan Baker told the Committee, "Last evening we had several hours of testimony on a resolution to support this bill, much of it from young mothers in our community who told of many stories of their children and the very serious health problems they have as a result of diesel emissions, direct result. So our City Council last evening passed a resolution unanimously urging you to support this bill."
Assemblyman Lowenthal closed by saying:
"It's been a long process. There's more for us to work together. I think this is the beginning of a cooperative relationship. I see this not only affecting the community now but really forging a partnership between economic interests and community interests. I think it's a great thing. We have lots of issues to face in the future. I think it's been a very, very positive process now and I urge your 'aye' vote."
The CA Senate Local Government Committee passed the bill, sending it to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it will likely be promptly forwarded to the Senate floor for action.
Related stories: Aug. 6: Council Votes 8-0 To Support Lowenthal Anti Idling Truck Bill (AB 2650)]
Aug. 5: Harbor Commissioners Vote To Oppose Lowenthal Anti-Diesel Truck Idling Bill AB 2650 As Written and Seek Amendments]