BlueGreen Alliance Leads Array of Labor, Environmental Organizations in Opposition to Bigger Trucks

The BlueGreen Alliance, along with an array of labor unions and environmental organizations, said today that they oppose allowing heavier and longer trucks, including huge triple-trailer trucks, on the nation's highways.

June 19, 2009

 Labor Unions, National Environmental Groups Endorse McGovern, Lautenberg Bills

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 19, 2009) The BlueGreen Alliance, along with an array of labor unions and environmental organizations, said today that they oppose allowing heavier and longer trucks, including huge triple-trailer trucks, on the nation’s highways. The coalition said they will work to pass a bill that would extend the “freeze” on truck size and weight to the entire National Highway System (NHS).

Joining the BlueGreen Alliance in opposition to bigger trucks and in support of the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (H.R. 1618, S. 779) are the Sierra Club, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America, Environment America, Communications Workers of America and the Service Employees International Union.

“The facts are clear: heavier trucks would be dirtier and would unnecessarily contribute to air pollution and global warming,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “The Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act will help prevent truck weights and lengths from increasing while taking action to improve the environment and make America more energy secure.”

These national labor and environmental organizations are working to debunk the arguments of major corporate interests claiming bigger trucks would mean fewer trucks on the road and reduced fuel use. The Teamsters and the Sierra Club said bigger trucks will mean greater challenges for truck drivers and motorists, more fuel squandered and more pollution and global warming emissions.

Today, laws limiting triple trailers and other so-called “longer combination vehicles” apply only to the 46,000 mile Interstate Highway system. The Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act would apply this standard to the full 160,000 mile NHS, which would save millions of gallons of fuel and billions of taxpayer dollars because limiting truck weight would reduce wear and tear on infrastructure, mainly bridges.

In addition to wrecking roads and bridges, allowing heavier and longer trucks would mean more fuel consumption and a move away from energy efficiency at a time when reducing fuel use and global warming emissions is a national imperative.

“We need to make transportation choices that cut back on fuel waste and reduce emissions, or we will all pay a steep price,” said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club.  “Bigger trucks would mean more fuel wasted and more global warming emissions at a time when all Americans are realizing we need to go in the exact opposite direction. ”

“This is about highway safety and protecting our environment,” said James P. Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. “Teamsters are the safest drivers on the road and know the risks of bigger trucks. Heavier or longer trucks are harder to handle, putting lives at risk, damaging the highway infrastructure and consuming more fuel.”

Read the letter signed by labor and environmental groups supporting SHIPA or visit www.bluegreenalliance.org.

-30-

The BlueGreen Alliance is a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. Launched in 2006, the BlueGreen Alliance now unites more than six million people in pursuit of good jobs, a clean environment and a green economy.