Home English Nebraska Leads Several States in Opposition to New California Emissions Rules

Nebraska Leads Several States in Opposition to New California Emissions Rules

by Punjabi Trucking

A coalition of states, spearheaded by Nebraska and the Nebraska Trucking Association, has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California against California’s Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) rule, naming Steven Cliff, the executive officer of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), as the primary defendant. The action follows a similar lawsuit filed by most of the same states last year against California’s Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule.

The ACF was already on hold after the California Trucking Association filed a lawsuit that forced CARB to seek a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the rule because it goes beyond federal law on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The ACT already received a waiver from the EPA and has taken effect despite the lawsuit.

Commercial trucks comprise only about 10 percent of all vehicles on the road, yet they generate more than 25 percent of emissions. Scientists have called 2023 the hottest year on record with temperatures rising about two degrees above average.

ACT and ACF 

The ACT regulates sales of trucks in California, ranging in size from delivery vans to big rigs. By 2035, 55% of delivery vans and small trucks, 75% of buses and larger trucks, and 40% of tractor-trailers and other big rigs sold in the state need to be all-electric. 

The ACF would regulate trucking companies and fleets, stipulating that they would convert to all-electric vehicles over a series of years. The CARB goal is to achieve a zero-emissions environment within 25 years. The ACT and the ACF are unique to California but would affect any companies that do business in the state.

States involved in the lawsuit include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

‘Nebraska Lawsuit’

The new lawsuit, labeled the Nebraska lawsuit, makes familiar arguments against California’s emissions rules, claiming that a state cannot take unilateral action beyond federal laws such as the Clean Air Act.

The lawsuit also cites the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (F4A) as a federal law that restricts states from implementing regulations that could impact the “price, route, or service” of a motor carrier. The F4A has also been cited in trucking lawsuits against California’s AB5 gig-worker law. 

“California’s regulation, which is called Advanced Clean Fleets, masquerades as a rule for in-state conduct,” the states write in the suit against the ACF. “But by leveraging California’s large population and access to international ports on the West Coast, Advanced Clean Fleets exports its ‘in-state’ ban nationwide, creating harms which are certain to reach Plaintiffs’ States.”

Arguments Similar to Those Against AB5

Also similar to the argument against AB5, the states have cited the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which allows Congress to regulate commerce among states. 

“Advanced Clean Fleets is barred by the Constitution, the CAA, and the FAAAA,” the lawsuit notes. “Defendants’ enforcement of this unlawful rule has injured and will continue to injure Plaintiffs.” 

The lawsuit also lists several negative outcomes that the ACF could cause. For example, the rule will increase the number of overweight vehicle licenses and will place a burden on the state’s electrical grid with increased demand for electricity.

In addition, Nebraska’s ethanol-powered trucks would be prohibited from doing business in California. Constant recharging of batteries would hinder trucking efficiency and out-of-state truckers would suffer damage from the costs of complying with California’s rules if they want to do business with the state’s large economy.

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