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Clean Fleet Rules May Likely Go Down in Flames

The Supreme Court heard arguments on one of several other big environmental cases yesterday. Engine Manufacturers Association v. South Coast Air Quality Management District is a dispute between - well the names say it all.

The EMA, together with the Western States Petroleum Association (and several other organizations) sued the SCAQMD over the District's rules that new commercial vehicles have to meet specific emissions standards. The 1190 series of rules (see one set of rules that encompass light and medium duty vehicles here). That last link also features a list of certified car engines, so you can see whether your car complies.

Just be glad you don't own a fleet if your car's not there.

These so-called "Clean fleet rules" mandate use of engines that have lower emissions to improve air quality. The rules require fleet owners to purchase low-emission or alternative-fuel vehicles.

The various trade associations argue that District's Clean fleet rules require engine manufacturers to create a "third car." The rules require vehicle to meet the specific regulations in Southern California (as opposed to Northern California, and the rest of the country), and are the strictest rules for vehicles. See the EMA brief and Chamber of Commerce brief, too.

The Western States Petroleum Association likely wants its members to be able to sell more fuel.

Even the Department of Justice filed a brief against the SCAQMD. Several environmental organizations filed a brief in support of the District.

Much is a stake, such as the SCAQMD's right to regulate emissions standards. So far, the District has won twice - once in Federal District Court, and once before the Ninth Circuit.

All indications are, however, for reversal. That result is not surprising given that the Ninth Circuit's reversal rate, as noted by the Curmudgeonly Clerk.

Everybody's got something to say on this case, and there are so many comments that I can only give you a smattering: the WSPA, SCAQMD, the District's lawyers, the Federalism project, the Diesel Technology Forum, and even

All of us here know it, but the LA air basin is the worst in the country. Looks like it may stay that way a while longer.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, January 15, 2004

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