California Coalition Asks Court to Back EPA

Litigation Focuses on Heavy-Truck Emission Regulations
Trucks at Port of Los Angeles
Trucks leave a security checkpoint at the Port of Los Angeles. (SiriStafford/Getty Images)

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A California-led 18-state coalition is backing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a legal action asking for rejection of a challenge by 19 states that contend California’s future strict emissions controls will regulate the trucking industry from existence.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced with other state officials the June 28 filing in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia a legal maneuver to counter lawsuits against EPA for authorizing its regulations to speed adoption of California’s zero-emission laws for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

Newsom stated, “We did not back down against radical efforts to undo our zero-emission vehicle rules, and we won’t back down from defending these common-sense, life-saving clean truck policies.”

His office noted that the California Air Resources Board’s advanced clean trucks regulations require manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty trucks to sell increasing numbers of zero-emission vehicles. It also mandates heavy-duty emission warranties to extend the length of time manufacturers must guarantee the emission performance of their on-road diesel engines.

CARB's Liane Randolph


On March 31, EPA approved of California’s heavy-duty vehicle and engine emission standards, which paved the way for other states to duplicate those regulations.

Joining California’s court action siding with EPA and the right of states to follow California’s lead on truck emissions were Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington state as well as the cities of Los Angeles and New York, plus the District of Columbia.

Liane Randolph, CARB chair, said, “We are taking an important step to defend our right to protect the health of Californians with emission standards that for decades have spurred necessary innovations in clean vehicle technology and put us on a path toward zero-emissions transportation.”

On June 5, Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird led a group of other states (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming) in filling a lawsuit in the same court against EPA and Administrator Michael Regan (in his official role). That lawsuit numbered 51 pages.

Brenna Bird


Bird had announced, “Iowa isn’t going to take a back seat as the EPA and California try to regulate truckers out of business. We’re pushing back. The EPA and California have no right or legal justification to force truckers to follow their radical climate agenda.”

California’s group, which referred to themselves in their 31-page court “Motion for Leave to Intervene,” as “state movant-intervenors.” They told the court they were stepping in to defend EPA’s actions to enforce their existing state zero-emission laws, preserve their ability to adopt these laws and retain authority to deal with air pollution in their states.


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They asked the court to side with them and EPA by rejecting counterarguments from opposing states and others (including soybean growers from eight states, Western States Trucking Inc. and numerous fuel and energy associations).

“There is no question that state movant-intervenors benefit from EPA’s waiver decision. That decision allows California and other states that have already adopted the standards to enforce their own regulations to control vehicle emissions and gives still more states the option to adopt these regulations,” the motion noted.

It alleged California-led states would be “injured by being pre-empted from enforcing their own regulations, or from adopting them in the first place” if EPA’s waiver for California was rejected by the appellate court.

“The inability to enforce existing state laws would also result in an increase of vehicle emissions that are harmful to state movant-intervenors’ residents — especially those in environmental-justice communities who disproportionately live near highways, trucking corridors and airports,” the motion argued.

It noted that no oral arguments had yet been scheduled in court as of June 28.