CALSTART to intervene in EPA clean trucking cases

Emissions Smoke

CALSTART filed a motion on Friday to intervene in cases where the EPA's clean trucking emissions standards are brought to court. 

"Our intervention is a continuation of our strong and unwavering support for standards that are mission-critical for the clean transportation industry," CALSTART President and CEO John Boesel says. "We have been vocal in our support for the science-based rulemaking process at each phase — and today is no exception." 

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Three cases are mentioned in the motion; state of Nebraska et al., Warren Peterson et al. and Western States Trucking Association Inc. et al. These respondents did not oppose the motion, according to CALSTART. 

CALSTART is a nonprofit focused on transportation decarbonization and clear air. It has offices in New York, Michigan, Colorado, California, Florida and Europe. It has more than 280 member companies and manages more than $500 million in vehicle incentive and technical assistance programs in the U.S. The organization says it's building on the lesson learned from the programs it manages in California. 

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"These phased-in standards provide the regulatory certainty that the industry depends on for long-term infrastructure planning and investments," Boesel says. "Without strong market signals, our clean transportation momentum would be stymied, and we would forfeit enormous health and climate benefits for people and planet." 

CALSTART maintains the federal regulations will spur investment in decarbonizing heavy-duty commercial vehicles, leading to more innovation in the industry. 

"In the long term, this regulation will create and protect jobs, while making the air cleaner and healthier for all," Boesel says. 

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The American Trucking Associations oppose the clean-trucking regulations.

"The post-2030 targets remain entirely unachievable given the current state of zero-emission technology, the lack of charging infrastructure and restrictions on the power grid," says ATA Chief Advocacy and Public Affairs Officer Ed Gilroy. He gave the statement in May as Congress introduced a resolution to overturn the standards

The ATA contends that over the past several decades, trucking has cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter tailpipe emissions by 99%. Sixty of today's diesel trucks, it says, emits the same pollutants as one 1988-model truck. The association and industry worked with the EPA for its Phase 1 and Phase 2 regulations, but it contends the latest Phase 3 rules "marked a sharp departure from this successful partnership, setting unrealistic adoption rates for battery-electric trucks." 

Other industry organizations were also alarmed by the ruling. 

"We are concerned the final rule will end up being the most challenging, costly and potentially disruptive heavy-duty emissions rule in history," Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association President Jed Mandel says. 

Nebraska and other states filed suit to stop the regulations in May. 

"California and an unaccountable EPA are trying to transform our national trucking industry and supply chain infrastructure," says Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers. "This effort — coming at a time of heightened inflation and with an already-strained electrical grid — will devastate the trucking and logistics industry, raise prices for customers and impact untold number of jobs across Nebraska and the country. Neither California nor the EPA has the constitutional power to dictate these nationwide rules to Americans." 

The states joining Nebraska are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

The second case was brought by Warren Petersen, president of the Arizona Senate. He is joined by state Speaker of the House Ben Toma and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

"This rule will create unnecessary hardships for job creators and hardworking Arizonans," Petersen said in a March statement announcing the suit. "It will detrimentally impact our power grid and create even more red tape for both small and large businesses. We have no choice but to ask the courts to provide relief from this tyrannical, arbitrary and illegal move by the EPA." 

The third case mentioned in CALSTART's motion was brought by the Western States Trucking Association Inc. and the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition Inc. This suit was filed in 2023, challenging the waiver the EPA granted to California to enforce the Advanced Clean Trucks regulation. 

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"WSTA believes that CARB's regulatory approach to both the ACT and ACF are heavy-handed and that BEVs are being mandated as a one-size-fits-all solution to clean air," the organization says. "We requested that CARB do the science and produce an unbiased life-cycle analysis of the various lower-carbon liquid and gaseous fuels and set a reasonable pathway for fleet owners to economically transition to lower-carbon choices." 

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