19 States Petition Against EPA Waiver for California’s ACT Rule

19 states are not at all thrilled with California’s exclusive privilege of setting its own emissions and pollution standards.  

Under federal law (dating back to the 1960s), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can grant waivers to California, and California only, to pursue its own environmental standards.  

In March, the EPA granted a waiver to California ahead of the state’s controversial Advanced Clean Trucks Rule.  

The decision allows California to roll out this law which sets the bar higher on emission and pollution standards in the state, while also accelerating its timeline for zero-emission trucking and drayage.  

This isn’t the first time the Golden State has been waived by the EPA, but this most recent example has been received with mixed and outspoken reviews.  

The trucking industry aside, states are questioning this federal law that endows one state alone to effectively set the tone for the rest of the country.  

19 states are trying to block California’s ACT 

That said, the EPA’s waiver to California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule is now being challenged by 19 states seeking appellate court review.  

The petition was filed last Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and challenges on the basis that the waiver decision will have a “nationwide scope or effect”.  

The filing seems to be focused on the deferential treatment California receives to administer its own emissions and standards that subsequently pressure the whole of the country to fall in line.  

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and their production is often grouped into two separate buckets—one for California (and other states that follow its lead) and the other for the rest of the nation).  

Some states are on the same page as California is. 14 have pledged a pathway to zero-emission vehicles by 2050, however, as the 19-state court troupe suggests, others are not seeing eye-to-eye.  

The states included in the petition are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.  

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird criticized the EPA’s decision as an “aggressive climate change agenda” that forces truckers to buy electric vehicles. She went on to write, “The EPA and California have no right or legal justification to force truckers to follow [this] radical climate agenda.”  

It may not be the case with all 19 states opposing the waiver, but several of them, including Iowa, are concerned how a rapid roll out of electric vehicles will threaten demand for liquid fuels, like ethanol and biodiesel.  The latter of which supports many state economies.  

California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule will govern the types of trucks that OEMs must supply to the state, while laying out a pathway for fleets to phase out gas-guzzling rigs in favor of zero-emission trucks.  

Final Thoughts 

As said previously, OEM production is already divided based off varying receptiveness across states to zero-emission integration, however California’s new timeline boldens this dynamic even further.  

Put it like this, California sees all trucks with batteries in it in less than two decades, while Iowa insists on corn-power for who knows how long.  

It’s not likely the 50 states will ever agree on emission standards.  

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic or any others in domestic logistics. In addition, stay up to date with weekly headlines from both trucking and rail via our Road Map newsletter. 

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