CARB Challenged in California Appeals Court

California Report Clean DieselAfter the California Air Resources Board (CARB) began levying fines against trucking companies that it deems “dangerous” to the air quality of the state, a construction trucking group is pushing back against what it sees as extremely unfair and anti-competitive business regulations.

The lawsuit against CARB has gone on for nearly two years, but with new developments, the construction trucking company has moved the suite to the next stage by filing in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of California.

UPLAND, Calif., Jan. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –– The California Construction Trucking Association (CCTA) has filed a Notice of Appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in its nearly two-year-long legal case against the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) heavy-duty, on-road truck and bus regulation .

The CARB diesel engine regulation will ultimately force the replacement of most diesel powered commercial motor vehicles that do not meet 2010 EPA emissions standards in order to operate in the State of California. Despite claims used to justify this regulation by regulators and environmental groups that public grant funding is readily available to assist truckers in complying – this is not true. Small-business truckers are bearing the brunt of the multi-billion dollar expense to unnecessarily replace trucks originally built and certified to EPA emissions standards.

The CCTA originally filed its litigation to CARB’s diesel engine regulation in March 2011 stating the state regulation is pre-empted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) which prohibits states from enacting any law, rule, or regulation affecting the price, routes, or services of motor carriers. The NRDC intervened by presenting a Gordian Knot legal theory that CARB’s regulation was not actually a state regulation but effectively a federal regulation when the EPA hurriedly approved the California State Implementation Plan (SIP) in 2012 containing the challenged truck and bus regulation – a year after litigation began.

In December 2012, the U.S. District Court issued a decision that the EPA was an “indispensable party” to the litigation resulting from EPA approval of the SIP and that the court no longer retained jurisdiction. No decision was made on the merits of CCTA’s original legal argument. The CCTA will appeal this decision.

Additionally, the CCTA will file a Petition for Review with the Ninth Circuit challenging EPA’s approval of the SIP since the Clean Air Act prohibits EPA from approving a SIP in conflict with other federal law. CCTA believes the approval is in conflict with the FAAAA and commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Separately, the CCTA is being represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation in another action challenging the process used by the EPA in approving CARB’s off-road diesel engine rules.

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