CARB hit with another suit over Advanced Clean Fleets rule

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Updated Apr 10, 2024
White truck driving down a hill in California

The American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce (AmFree Chamber), whose whose Center for Legal Action is led by former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, is suing California over its Advanced Clean Fleets regulation requiring fleets to transition to zero-emissions trucks, beginning this year in the drayage sector.

The AmFree Chamber and Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) filed the lawsuit on April 1. The ACF rule is also under fire from the California Trucking Association, which filed suit in October.

“The ability to move people and products reliably and affordably is foundational to free enterprise and a functioning marketplace that serves American consumers,” said Gentry Collins, AmFree Chamber CEO. “The attempt currently underway by the state of California to ban liquid fuels and internal combustion engines is a major threat to the American way of life and terrible climate policy to boot.”

AmFree Chamber called the mandate “a power grab that seeks to regulate out-of-state truck fleets if they so much as cross the state line even once per year.”

[RELATED: Little information available regarding CARB-certified 2024 engines]

“AED members supply and service the equipment critical to our nation’s construction, agriculture, forestry, industrial and energy sectors,” said Brian P. McGuire, AED’s President and CEO. “We cannot sit on the sidelines as California exceeds its legal authority and businesses are forced to adopt products that aren’t readily available in the marketplace.”

The complaint claims that the ACF is illegal, stating that the California Air Resources Board has not obtained a waiver of Clean Air Act preemption from the Environmental Protection Agency, adding that it is separately preempted by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 and by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (F4A).

Regarding Clean Air Act preemption from the EPA, which CARB has applied for, the lawsuit states that “CARB refuses to concede that it needs a waiver to enforce” the rule. In EISA, Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to improve the fuel efficiency of trucks exceeding 8,500 lb. The lawsuit states that CARB violated this law because they require manufacturers to go further in improving fuel consumption than the federal maximum.

[RELATED: Point. Counterpoint. Where trucking stands on the REPAIR Act]

The lawsuit also claims that CARB’s rules violate the F4A because they “relate to and are intimately connected with carrier rates, routes, and services, and so they are preempted” by F4A. “The rules compel motor carriers to modify their operations in ways that will significantly affect their services, routes, and rates.”

The lawsuit seeks to deem the ACF as illegal, along with a permanent injunction blocking its enforcement.

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