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California Superior Court strikes ARB amendments to diesel rule

A decision by the Superior Court of California in Fresno agreed with the California Trucking Association’s request to erase a range of amendments to the state’s major rule to clean up diesel trucks and buses. The case is not against the rule itself, which remains fully in effect, but amendments adopted in 2014, which provide flexibility to smaller fleets (three trucks or less); lower-use vehicles including those operated by small farmers; and fleets in some rural areas.

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) said it would immediately file an appeal, which will maintain the status quo while the case makes its way through the higher courts.

California led the way by adopting our landmark regulation to clean up dirty trucks, and our air quality has benefited immensely. In 2014, we recognized the extreme economic pressures experienced by smaller trucking fleets and independent owners as they sought to comply by upgrading or purchasing new equipment. We responded by amending the regulation to make it more flexible for ‘the little guys’ to comply. This court decision negates those amendments and deals a profound blow the smaller fleets, small farmers and independent owners.

—CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey

The lawsuit, filed by John R. Lawson Rack and Oil of Fresno, and the California Trucking Association (CTA) against CARB in 2014, claims the ARB had failed to consider the environmental and economic impacts of delaying regulations with which trucking companies of all sizes had already complied. The lawsuit alleges ARB did not follow the proper procedures of the Administrative Procedures Act and the California Environmental Quality Act in adopting the amendments.

As the case makes its way through the Court of Appeal process, ARB staff statewide will continue to enforce the regulation and will cite those vehicles found to be out of compliance.

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