California overstepped with emission standards, OOIDA says

November 3, 2022

Mark Schremmer


California is overstepping its authority in regard to emission standards, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

On Oct. 31, OOIDA filed an amicus brief in support of Ohio’s case against the Environmental Protection Agency. The lawsuit centers around the EPA reinstating California’s authority under the Clean Air Act to implement its own greenhouse gas emission standards and zero-emission vehicle sales mandate.

Opponents argue that EPA’s reinstatement forces California’s rule on the rest of the nation.

“The federal government, not one state, is the appropriate authority to impose a mandate of such vast economic and political significance,” OOIDA wrote in its amicus brief. “Only Congress has the authority to pass the laws and appropriate the resources to support the nationwide infrastructure that will ensure the least burdensome and most efficient adoption of any electric vehicle mandate.”

Although the rule in question focuses on cars, OOIDA told the court it is concerned that EPA’s decision could set a precedent for future California rules.

“OOIDA’s interest in this proceeding stems not from a direct interest in California’s Advanced Clean Car Program … but from the impact that a decision on the legal issues presented here would have on future EPA decisions to permit or deny waiver requests from California for initiatives that would directly impact OOIDA members, including California’s Advanced Clean Fleets regulation,” OOIDA told the court.

The California Air Resources Board is developing a medium and heavy-duty zero-emission fleet regulation with the goal of achieving a zero-emission truck and bus California fleet by 2045.

“California’s pending Advanced Clean Fleets regulation would, in effect, impose a new national heavy-duty truck emissions policy that would not only affect manufacturers, but also fundamentally affect heavy truck purchasers and users across the country, the industries that fuel and repair those vehicles, and the interstate commerce those users serve,” OOIDA wrote.

The Association’s arguments question the scope of California’s vehicle emissions proposal and how it would affect future rules.

“California is unique among states in that it is a major agriculture producer, a major manufacturer, and a major gateway for U.S. imports and exports,” OOIDA wrote. “It is also a major consumer of the nation’s agricultural production and manufacturing. California’s economic significance is predicated on the ability to efficiently move goods to, through and from the state. When it comes to transportation of most of this freight, there is no substitute for trucking.”

OOIDA argues that the size and influence of California’s economy “does not give it carte blanche to ignore” the scope of the rules.

“There is little doubt that when California establishes a vehicle standard for all trucks operating on its highways, it imposes burdens and costs extraterritorially upon a significant number of out-of-state truck owners who regularly or occasionally haul freight to and from California.” LL

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.