19 attorneys general want California’s emissions rule for trucks reversed



(The Center Square) – Nineteen attorneys general are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow California to enforce its own regulations requiring zero-emission heavy-duty trucks.

In 2021, the California Air Resources Board requested the EPA waive regulations in the federal Clean Air Act. The EPA approved the waiver in March.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the EPA’s decision allowed his state to be the world’s first government to require zero-emission trucks and paved the way for clean trucks and buses across the globe. California’s Advanced Clean Trucks rule requires manufacturers to have 40% of semi-tractor sales to be zero-emissions by 2035. All heavy-duty vehicles in California must have no carbon exhaust emissions, wherever feasible, by 2045.

Last week, Republican Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird led a coalition of 19 states challenging the EPA’s decision.

“The EPA and California have no right or legal justification to force truckers to follow their radical climate agenda,” Bird said in a statement. “America would grind to a halt without truckers who deliver our food, clothes and other necessities.”

Eight other states have moved to adopt or are working to adopt California’s truck regulations, according to Newsom’s office.

In 1967, Congress created a waiver provision for state regulations and it was amended in 1990 to include emissions. The Clean Air Act stated there would be only two ways to enforce emission standards from new motor vehicles – EPA regulations and California laws. Other states can only adopt standards identical to California.

“This statutory scheme struck an important balance that protected manufacturers from multiple and different state emission standards, while preserving California’s pivotal role as a laboratory for innovation in the control of emissions from new motor vehicles,” Michael Regan, EPA administrator, wrote in a 38-page article published in the Federal Register in April. “Congress recognized that California could serve as a pioneer and a laboratory for the nation in setting new motor vehicle emission standards and the development of new emission control technologies.”

“Further, Congress intentionally structured this waiver provision to restrict and limit EPA’s ability to deny a waiver,” he added. “The provision was designed to ensure California’s broad discretion to determine the best means to protect the health and welfare of its citizens.”

The attorneys general argue California’s regulations will increase operating costs for the truck industry, lower demand for diesel and biodiesel and eliminate jobs.

“Joe Biden is partnering with California to attempt to upend Missouri’s economy through the federal administrative state, and my office isn’t going to stand for it,” Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said in a statement.

Joining Iowa in the petition to the U.S. District Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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