The U. S. Court of Appeals panel denied Wednesday an American Trucking Association request for an injunction to prevent the Clean Trucks Program at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports from starting Oct. 1.

The program will require trucking firms to obtain a concession from the ports, retire older model trucks and dispatch only drivers who have undergone a security background check and obtained a federal transportation worker identification credential.

The association had appealed a Los Angeles federal court judge's ruling earlier this month that permitted the ports to continue to implement the program while the association's lawsuit winds its way through the courts.

"We're disappointed of course, but we'll be continuing with the law suit," said ATA spokesman Clayton Boyce, noting the both sides have filings due to the federal court by Oct. 8.

The association contends in the suit that although it supports the phased retirement of older trucks from port operations, it considers the concessions requirement an attempt by the ports to impose restrictions on motor carriers in violation of federal law.

Port officials have said that the concessions provision is a key element in implementing the clean trucks program.

The Ninth Circuit appellate court ruled that the association had "failed to establish that it will be irreparably injured absent an injunction, or that the public interest lies in favor of granting an injunction."

However, it is unclear whether the program will start on time despite the ports' vows. The Federal Maritime Commission has said it could seek an injunction to stop the ports if they start the program without its approval. The commission is in the midst of reviewing the program and has so far not issued a decision.

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