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California Dump Truck Owners Association v. Mary D. Nichols

January 27, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge


Presently before the Court is Plaintiff California Dump Truck Owners Association's ("CDTOA" or "Plaintiff") Motion for Preliminary Injunction ("Motion"). By its Motion, CDTOA seeks to preliminarily enjoin enforcement of California's "Regulation to Reduce Emissions of Diesel Particulate Matter, Oxides of Nitrogen and Other Criteria Pollutants, from In-Use Heavy-Duty Diesel-Fueled Vehicles," Cal. Code Regs. tit. 13, § 2025 ("the Regulation" or "the Rule"), by Mary D. Nichols, Chairperson of the California Air Resources Board, and James Goldstene, Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board, (collectively "ARB") on the basis that the Regulation is preempted by federal law.

The ARB and Defendant-Intervenor National Resources Defense Counsel ("NRDC") opposed CDTOA's Motion, and a hearing was held before this Court on December 15, 2011. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion is DENIED.


A. Procedural Background

CDTOA initiated this action on February 11, 2011, and filed its operative First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on April 6, 2011. ECF Nos. 1 and 12. By Memorandum and Order dated May 20, 2011, this Court granted NRDC leave to intervene as Defendant. ECF No. 18.

Just over one month later, CDTOA filed a motion for summary judgment, which it set for hearing on this Court's September 6, 2011 calendar. ECF No. 22, 25. Per the subsequent stipulation of the parties and the Order of this Court, hearing on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment was reset for January 26, 2012.*fn1 ECF Nos. 29-30. Since the effective date of the Regulation was January 1, 2012, which is prior to the time the dispositive motions will be resolved, CDTOA filed the instant Motion seeking to temporarily enjoin enforcement of the Rule until such time as those summary judgment motions can be heard and decided. Motion, 1:17-22.

B. Factual Background

The challenged Regulation was adopted in 2008 and is intended to reduce amounts of diesel particulate matter ("PM") and oxides of nitrogen ("NOx") emissions from diesel-fueled trucks and buses operating within the state. ARB Opposition, 1:6-8; 3:3-5.*fn2 The Regulation was adopted as part of California's plan to satisfy national air quality standards set by the federal Clean Air Act ("CAA"), 42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq.

Over eighty-percent of California's nearly one million heavy-duty trucks are fueled by diesel, and those diesel-fueled vehicles are the largest source of PM and NOx emissions in California. Id., 2:5-9. According to the ARB, those emissions "contribute to ambient levels of PM composed of particles 2.5 microns or less in diameter," which cause a variety of health problems, up to and including death. Id., 2:12-16. NOx is also a "precursor to ozone," exposure to which carries its own health risks. Id., 2:17-19.

The Regulation combats these emissions in two ways. First, covered vehicles are required to have diesel particulate filters installed to reduce PM emissions. Id., 3:13-14. Accordingly, by the applicable regulatory deadlines, older trucks will need to either be retrofitted with filters or have their engines replaced with model year 2007 or newer engines, engines that are already equipped with updated filtering technology. Id., 3:14-17.

In addition, all engines will have to be upgraded to model year 2010 engines (or engines with equal or lower emissions) by separate regulatory deadlines. Id., 3:17-19. The NRDC provided a chart helpful in illustrating the compliance schedule:

Engine Model Year Schedule

Engine Year Requirement from January 1, 2012

Pre-1994 No requirements until 2015, then 2010 engine 1994-95 No requirements until 2016, then 2010 engine 1996-99 PM filter from 2012 to 2020, then 2010 engine 2000-04 PM filter from 2013 to 2021, then 2010 engine 2005-06 PM filter from 2014 to 2022, then 2010 engine 2007-09 No requirements until 2023, then 2010 engine 2010 Meets final requirements NRDC Opposition, 4:3-12.

Accordingly, most heavy-duty trucks must have filters installed by 2014. ARB Opposition, 3:20-21. Similarly, all heavy-duty truck engines must be replaced with model year 2010 engines by 2023. Id., 3:22-24. The only real requirement effective in 2012, then, is that fleets of trucks with 1996 to 1999 model year engines must install the requisite filters. Id., 4:2-4. Compliance with the Regulation even as to these trucks can nonetheless be delayed under certain provisions of the Rule. Id., 4:4-10. In addition, there are grants and loan assistance programs available to help truck owners bring their vehicles into compliance. Id., 4:11-21. In fact, in response to the national recession, the ARB amended the Regulation last year specifically to reduce compliance costs. Id., 3:5-7.

Accordingly, while it is estimated that the Regulation will cost $1.5 billion over the first five years of its implementation and $2.2 billion over the Rule's life, NRDC Opposition, 4:27-28, the amendments are expected to reduce compliance costs by fifty to sixty percent. Id., 3:8-10.

CDTOA is a trade association representing nearly 1,000 trucking companies "whose business constitutes over 75% of the hauling of dirt, rock, sand, and gravel operations in California." Motion, 1:10-13. CDTOA contends that "[v]irtually all of the trucks owned and operated by CDTOA members are subject to the [Regulation]" and that the Rule "imposes steep fines and penalties on anyone who operates their trucks in violation of the

[R]egulation." Id., 2:16-18; 2:26-3:2. According to the CDTOA, however, retrofitting the covered trucks is prohibitively expensive for many of its members and makes the vehicles less efficient, more prone to breakdowns, and harder to resell. FAC, ΒΆΒΆ 7-11. CDTOA thus contends that if the Regulation is enforced, its members will suffer irreparable harm, "including...loss of...businesses and livelihoods, which in turn will proximately cause some members to be ...

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