2013 US Trucking News – OOIDA Sues CARB Over Truck and Bus Regulation
According to Jim Johnson, president and CEO of the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has overstepped its bounds by requiring trucks from other states to be upgraded, in order for them to operate in California.
The CARB is a clean-air agency that is located in the government of California. It was established in 1967 when Ronald Regan, who was then governor of California, signed the Mulford-Carrell Act, combining the Bureau of Air Sanitation and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board. CARB is a department within the cabinet-level California Environmental Protection Agency. California is also the only state that has permitted to have such a regulatory agency, since it is the only state that had one right before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act. Other states are also permitted to follow the CARB standards, or use federal ones, but not set their own.
CARB’s standard goals include attaining and maintaining good and healthy air quality, protecting the public from exposure to toxic air contaminants, and providing innovative approaches for complying with air pollution rules and regulations.
Programs of the CARB in reducing greenhouse gasses include:
Alternative fuel vehicle incentive program – The Air Resources Board (ARB) is an agency among others in California that works to expand the use and production of alternative fuels and vehicles for their benefits to air quality, and climate change. The agency also aims to reduce the public’s dependence on petroleum-based fuels.
California zero-emissions vehicle – The CARB ZEV program was enacted by the Californian government, to promote the use of zero emission vehicles. The goal of this program is to reduce the persuasive air pollution that affects the main metropolitan areas in the state, particularly in Los Angeles where pollution episodes are frequent.
Low Carbon fuel standards – The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) controls oil refineries and distributors in the Californian market. The LCFS ensures that the mix of fuel that they sell meets the established declining targets for greenhouse gas emissions, measured in CO2-equivalent grams per unit of fuel energy sold for transit purposes.
The PHEV Research Center at the University of California, Davis, provides technology and policy guidance to the state, helps solve research questions and addresses commercialization issues for PHEVs. The Center also plans to start with hybrid passenger vehicles that have been converted into plug-in hybrids. It plans to expand its program to include medium-duty trucks, and will encourage the conversion of other passenger vehicle hybrids by broadening up the scope of study, and eventually evolving into dedicated PHEVs that are made by original equipment manufacturers.
Compliance requirements are currently in effect for bigger vehicles with a GWVR that is greater than 26,000 pounds and an engine dating back to 1996 or newer. To assist vehicle owners with the transition to the particulate matter filter compliance deadline on January 1, 2014, the ARB has taken specific actions to provide additional time for owners to complete their good faith compliance efforts. The owners may take advantage of additional flexibilities for many lower-use vehicles, as well as vehicles that operate solely in certain areas of the state. Owners will have the opportunity to use the following options under certain conditions, but they must report by January 31, 2014.
Fleets that are already reported will need to update their vehicle owner information, as it changes.
Last Friday, December 6, a lawsuit was filed by OOIDA in the US District Court, Eastern District of California, against the CARB in connection with the agency’s controversial Truck and Bus Regulation. Johnson also says that their position is that it violates the Commerce Clause, and that they can’t seem to do it.
The OOIDA lawsuit has asked that the court permanently join CARB for implementing or enforcing the Truck and Bus Regulation against plaintiffs, as well as other truck or bus owners who live or conduct business primarily outside of California.
The Truck and Bus Regulation is also known as the CARB regulation. They usually require 1996-2006 model year trucks that weigh more than 14,000 pounds to be replaced or be retrofitted with particulate matter filters. They also prohibit older trucks that are not yet replaced or retrofitted from operating on California’s public roads. This rule became effective last January 1, 2012.
OOIDA contends that the CARB regulation owners violate the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. This Commerce Clause prohibits state laws, as well as regulations, that discriminate against interstate commerce, or unduly burden interstate commerce.
The complaint that was filed by the OOIDA has stated that the CARB regulations have caused, and will continue to cause, irreparable harm to truckers that have been shut out of the California market due to the costs of compliance.
OOIDA contends that failure to bury and retrofit trucking equipment, as required by the CARB regulation, will immediately exclude out-of-state truckers from the California trucking market, unless they are willing to face fines and penalties for noncompliance.
Johnson also says that it puts out-of-state truckers at a disadvantage, since the cost to upgrade is not in proportion to the number of miles travelled in the state of California.
The amount of money to comply with the regulation, even for doing a small amount of business in California, runs into many thousands of dollars.
The OOIDA also points out that trucking equipment that was purchased by its members, when such equipment met all of California’s regulatory requirements, has now become obsolete for use in the state. This is because of the new restrictions that were imposed by the regulation.
Plaintiffs in this case include: OOIDA, Dale L. Curtice Jr. of the Curtice Trucking Inc., Nelson Greenwade Sr. of the Dream Team Express LLC, Lance Henning of the Lance Henning Trucking, Leo T. Jolin, Barry Vun Cannon of NACO LLC, Johnny West, Richard M. Hunter, and Russell A. Short.
The complainant has named his defendants Richard W. Corey in his official and personal capacity as executive officer of CARB. Other defendants include chairman of the CARB Mary D. Nichols, and secretary of CARB Matt Rodriguez.