Nineteen States Sue EPA Over California Heavy Truck Phaseout

Iowa Leads Opposition to Action Promoting EVs
trucks refuel
Diesel trucks refuel at a truck stop. (Bim/Getty Images)

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Iowa is leading 19 states in a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for backing California’s future ban on heavy diesel vehicles in a purported attempt to regulate traditional trucking “out of existence through mandating net-zero emissions standards.”

The 51-page legal action against the EPA and its administrator, Michael Regan (in his official role), was filed June 5 in the U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia by Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird and her peers from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

“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,” Bird announced. “The EPA and California have no right or legal justification to force truckers to follow their radical climate agenda.”

Pointing out that only 2% of heavy trucks sold in the United States are electric, she contended President Joe Biden’s administration gave California the authority to force most buses, vans, trucks and tractor-trailers to be electric by 2035.

“America would grind to a halt without truckers who deliver our food, clothes and other necessities. But rather than support our hard-working truckers, Biden continues to empty their wallets and force them to drive electric trucks for his radical climate change agenda,” Bird said.

On March 9, 2022, Regan declared EPA reinstated California’s authority under the Clean Air Act to implement its own greenhouse gas emission standards and zero-emission vehicle sales mandate — paving the way for other states to mimic California’s green regulations.

Brenna Bird


Regan said the EPA proudly reaffirmed “California’s long-standing authority” to lead efforts to combat truck and car pollution.

“Our partnership with states to confront the climate crisis has never been more important. With today’s action,” he said, “we reinstate an approach that for years has helped advance clean technologies and cut air pollution for people not just in California, but for the U.S. as a whole.”

Then on April 28 this year, California Air Resources Board approved a regulation mandating diesel medium- and heavy-duty on-road vehicles (with a gross vehicle weight rating over 8,500 pounds) to be gradually replaced by zero-emission vehicles.

Eight other states have already adopted California’s truck ban as others ponder following its example, Bird said.

Michael Regan


“Costs for electric trucks already start at about $100,000 and can reach the high six figures. And even worse — California’s new regulations are setting the standard for the rest of the country. That makes California a major decision-maker for the future of the national trucking industry,” she said.

EPA’s actions backing California’s diesel truck ban also “will not only increase costs, but it will devastate the demand for liquid fuels, such as biodiesel, and cut trucking jobs across the nation,” Bird predicted. “Iowa’s trucking industry currently provides almost 100,000 jobs — that is almost one in 13 jobs in the state.”

A ready replacement to lower diesel truck emissions, biodiesel is produced in Iowa and more states in greater quantities as it gains in popularity. The renewable fuel is made in the United States from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled restaurant grease and also helps the nation’s farmers.

Nearly all heavy-duty diesel vehicles can run on biodiesel blends. All original equipment manufacturers approve the use of a B5 biodiesel blend, while the B20 blend is most common.

The attorney generals from the 19 states fighting the diesel trucking ban contend that California’s Advanced Clean Trucks regulation violates the Clean Air Act and other federal laws. Their lawsuit is petitioning the court to review the EPA’s actions.

“Biden’s EPA is attempting to use the California truck ban to force his radical climate change agenda onto the rest of the country. This disastrous Biden policy would devastate Kansas industries, destroy Kansas jobs and dramatically increase the cost of consumer goods for Kansas families,” said state Attorney General Kris Kobach.

He noted 70,000 Kansas jobs depend on the trucking industry. “California’s truck ban is reckless, and that’s why I am once again challenging a Biden policy,” Kobach said June 7.

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Also issuing a statement that day was Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who linked 21,000 Utah jobs to his state’s trucking industry.

Alan Wilson, South Carolina’s attorney general, had strong words against the diesel truck ban.

“There were more than 13 million trucks on U.S. roads in 2020, carrying the goods we all buy. Either we won’t be able to get the things we need, or the cost of those goods will be astronomical. This ban is another example of prioritizing the climate change agenda above everyday people,” Wilson said June 8. “If you think prices have been bad during the Biden administration because of inflation, imagine how crippling they’ll be if this illegal truck ban is allowed to stand.”