California Trucking Group Sues State Over ‘Wildly Unrealistic’ New Zero-Emissions Rule

California Trucking Group Sues State Over ‘Wildly Unrealistic’ New Zero-Emissions Rule

Trucks make their way to the Port of Long Beach, Calif., on July 13, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

10/18/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

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The California Trucking Association is suing the state’s air-quality agency over a new climate action rule that requires truckers to switch to zero-emissions vehicles by 2042, claiming it “threatens the security and predictability” of the trucking industry.
In a federal lawsuit filed against the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Oct. 16 in Sacramento U.S. District Court, the trucking association is seeking the court to permanently stop the agency from enforcing its Advanced Clean Fleets rule that goes into effect Jan. 1.
The proposed regulations (pdf) would require trucks operating at California ports to be zero-emission by Jan. 1, 2035, and all trucks operating in the state by 2042.
Calling the new rule “wildly unrealistic,” the trucking association’s CEO Eric Sauer said the agency’s “clearly unachievable regulation” aimed at eliminating trucks with internal combustion engines violated multiple federal laws.
Sauer also derided the state’s lack of planning and coordination with other state agencies and California’s lack of electric-vehicle infrastructure and what he said was an unrealistic timeline, in a statement provided to The Epoch Times Oct. 18.
“Make no mistake, the [Advanced Clean Fleets rule] is a supply chain and inflationary crisis in the making, one that is entirely self-inflicted by [the air resources board],” Mr. Sauer said.
The American Trucking Associations, which represents 37,000 members, supports the lawsuit, even though it was not part of the court filing.
“California’s Advanced Clean Fleets rule is completely divorced from reality, with unachievable requirements and timelines that will grind the supply chain to a halt in California and elsewhere,” association President Chris Spear said in the same Oct. 18 statement. “More to the point, the rule vastly exceeds the state’s legal authority. We fully support [California Trucking Association’s] effort to stop it in its tracks.”
The lawsuit claims the air resources board’s regulations violate federal law by demanding that virtually any vehicle that enters the state conform to its rules.
A semi-truck fills up with diesel fuel outside of Bakersfield, Calif., on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

A semi-truck fills up with diesel fuel outside of Bakersfield, Calif., on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

For instance, the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, enacted by Congress in 1994, prevents states from undermining federal regulation of interstate commerce through a patchwork of state laws, according to the lawsuit.
The trucking association, which serves the state’s trucking industry, also claims the new rule violates the due process clauses of the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution because of its “vague standards and the discretionary enforcement authority delegated” to CARB’s executive officer.
In April, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted California a waiver, allowing the state to impose stronger emissions standards under the federal Clean Air Act. The waiver paved the way for the air resources board to move forward with its clean fleets rule.
A coalition of 19 states, led by Iowa, filed a lawsuit against the EPA in June, seeking a review of the federal agency’s decision to grant the waiver to California.
Officials from CARB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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