Court upholds EPA’s truck efficiency rules

Court upholds EPA’s truck efficiency rules
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A federal appeals court ruled Friday that a group of California companies cannot sue to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efficiency and greenhouse gas rules for heavy trucks.

The decision keeps in place the federal government’s first rules on truck efficiency and greenhouse gases, which the EPA developed jointly with the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2011.

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The three judges in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously concluded that a trucking association and a construction company in California cannot challenge the regulations in court because they could not prove that the EPA rule, and not the NHTSA rule, is responsible for the increased truck prices that they have to pay.

The rules were nearly identical, but the EPA authority only covers greenhouse gases, and the NHTSA’s authority is over fuel efficiency.

“Even were we to vacate the EPA standards, the NHTSA standards would still increase the price of vehicles,” the court wrote. “Accordingly, the California Petitioners cannot demonstrate either that EPA’s standards cause their purported injury or that a favorable decision by this court would redress it.”

The group and construction company said that the EPA did not, as it is legally required to do, send its regulation to its Science Advisory Board before making it final.

The EPA responded that it made the proposal public and gave the science board an opportunity.

But the judges didn’t get to that issue, instead ruling that group and company do not have standing to bring the case.

The judges also upheld the regulation against a company that promotes the use of vegetable oil in place of diesel fuel.

The 2011 rule mandates increases in fuel efficiency from 2014 to 2017. The two agencies that worked on the rule are planning in the coming months to propose further increases in efficiency for later years.

The case was Delta Construction Company Inc. v. EPA.

— This story was updated at 3:43 p.m.