Sacramento, California – Dump truck owners are taking the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to court to challenge the legality of a new regulation that would require owners to install diesel exhaust filters on their trucks. The California Dump Truck Owners Association (CDTOA) asserts that the regulation is unconstitutional and seeks an injunction to prohibit enforcement.
The Statewide Truck and Bus Rule, which came into effect on the first of January of this year, was adopted by CARB in 2008. It requires almost all trucks to be upgraded with exhaust filters by 2014, and engines older than model-year 2010 must be gradually replaced between 2012 and 2022. CARB estimates that by 2014, diesel emissions will be reduced by 68 per cent and NOx emission by 25 per cent, compared to emissions without the rule in place.
According to CDTOA’s lawsuit, the regulation is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, which gives the federal government sole oversight over motor carriers in the U.S. and prohibits states from enforcing rules related to the price, route or service of a motor carrier. CDTOA said that the regulation is unconstitutional because it affects the vehicle’s price.
CDTOA also asserts that the dump truck industry is struggling to survive in the face of a depressed regional economy, unemployment in the construction industry and construction price deflation, and that the compounding damage caused by these factors and the new ruling “will cause incalculable damage within the construction transportation industry.” The association said that CARB “has repeatedly refused to address these many economic challenges,” and that CDTOA was left with no remaining option other than litigation.
“Our members are experiencing the worst economic conditions in living memory and CARB continues to place impossible regulatory burdens on them at a time they can least afford it,” said Lee Brown, executive director of CDTOA. “Our members support clean air, but the air we breathe can’t be more important than the people that are breathing it.”
CDTOA also said that, to date, no true California-specific report has been released that connects diesel-related particulate matter to premature deaths in the state, “despite promises of such by CARB.”