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ATA’s Spear takes aim at plaintiff attorneys, California emissions rules – Truck News

In a fiery keynote address at the American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference & Exhibition, the association’s president put industry foes on notice that trucking will continue to bring the fight.

Chris spear singled out “trial lawyers chasing jackpot justice, self-promoting union bosses and delusional environmental extremists,” noting they “constitute a clear threat to our industry’s ability to grow and support our nation’s economic security.”

Chris Spear
Chris Spear (File Photo: John G. Smith)

But he also touted victories against those groups, namely “major victories” for tort reform in Florida and Iowa.

“There have now been over a dozen reform bills passed since ATA declared lawsuit abuse a tier one priority in 2019, and there are now a dozen more states lining up to do the same,” Spear said.

Spear also took aim at proposed emissions standards in California, which deviate from the national standard and come with unrealistic timelines and targets. Spear dubbed the California Air Resources Board “an unelected, ill-informed band of extremists who have no clue the impact their timelines and targets will have on our economy.”

However, he added the industry won’t shirk its environmental responsibilities, and urged regulators to instead focus on incentivizing the replacement of older, dirtier trucks.

“At ATA, we start with yes,” he said. “If the goal is to reduce emissions, eliminate the century-old federal excise tax, which adds 12.5% to the price of every new tractor purchased today. That’s roughly $25,000 per power unit. Those same new trucks produce 98.5% less emissions than half of all trucks currently operating in California.”

Spear said replacing older equipment with the latest model year equipment would slash emissions in the state by 83%. In addition, doing so would “save lives by putting the safest equipment on our roadways. And it would support jobs – union jobs, which I understand is a major priority to the most pro-union president in American history.”

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