Fuel Smarts

Court Deals Setback to Challenge of EPA GHG Regs

April 27, 2015

By Deborah Lockridge

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A legal challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks has failed after an appeals court found the California trucking groups that had filed suit lacked standing.

The rule was challenged by the California Construction Trucking Association, Delta Construction Co. and other trucking groups that claimed the rule should be vacated because the EPA did not send its rule to the Science Advisory Board for review before it was issued.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the groups, who had claimed the rules would increase costs for vehicles, were unable to demonstrate how they were actually harmed by the rule and how vacating it would bring them relief.

The EPA's greenhouse gas rule was issued jointly with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The trucking groups, however, only challenged the EPA's portion of the standards, and the court said "even were we to vacate the EPA standards, the NHTSA standards would still increase the price of vehicles."

Joe Rajkovacz, a spokesman for the California Construction Trucking Association, said the group was disappointed by the results. "The merits were never considered; this was procedural in nature. Our legal counsel, the Pacific Legal Foundation, will be petitioning for a rehearing ... on the issue of whether any of us has standing to sue EPA over how it devised Phase I of its landmark heavy-duty vehicle GHG rules."

He says the issue "really exposes the falsehood of EPA claims throughout the rulemaking process that it was working with all affected stakeholders – they were not. They were only focused on manufacturers and not any of the end users -- the buyers of these trucks that ultimately pay the costs associated with the rulemaking."

The American Trucking Associations supported the rulemaking process, but Rajkovacz says the association does not represent the entire trucking industry.

"The D.C. Circuit Court is basically saying end users – buyers of trucks – have no standing to sue the agency over how it mishandled this rulemaking."

CCTA also has been struggling in its challenge to California truck and bus emissions regulations.

CCTA says it advocates on behalf of owner-operators, micro-carriers, and small-business truckers. Its divisions include the Western Trucking Alliance (representing interstate truckers), the Coalition of American-Latino Truckers, the Heavy Haul Conference and the California Concrete Pumpers Alliance.

Corrected to change incorrect reference to Ninth court to D.C. Circuit Court

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