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Commissioner Brennan Votes Against Investigation of Los Angeles/Long Beach Terminal Practices, Citing "Legal Cloud" Over Port Development and Clean Air Plan

September 24, 2008

Today the Federal Maritime Commission voted to launch an investigation of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Commissioner Joseph E. Brennan voted against the proposal, saying that it was premature and unnecessary.

While the investigation does not technically delay the Ports' plans to move forward, it will create a legal cloud over the Ports' plan to clean up the air and to create jobs through port expansion, according to Commissioner Brennan. It will also contribute to the perception that the Commission is unnecessarily delaying the Clean Trucks Program. The FMC issued lengthy questions and document requests in April and September of this year. Now this investigation will require interrogatories, depositions, and administrative hearings and could carry on for months or years, if similar past proceedings are instructive. Commissioner Brennan believes that the proper role of the Commission should be to follow the Shipping Act's policy of regulation "with a minimum of government intervention and regulatory costs."

Commissioner Brennan believes that the Commission, when evaluating the Clean Trucks Program, should show more deference and respect to the elected officials of Los Angeles and Long Beach and their very necessary efforts to clean the air and expand the ports.