Energy Marketers of America Challenges EPA Waiver to Eliminate Diesel Trucks in California

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 – On Monday, the Energy Marketers of America (EMA) asked the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) April 2023 Clean Air Act waiver to California for its “Advanced Clean Fleets” (ACT) rule that phases in zero-emission trucks in the State, beginning in 2024. The rule requires that 100 percent of manufacturers’ sales be zero-emission trucks by 2036. The Biden Administration expects the ACT rule to serve as a model for other states, including 14 states and the District of Columbia, that signed a 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with California to cooperate on zero-emission vehicle rules.

“California’s rhetoric that effectively would eliminate diesel fuel in the State does not match the ACT’s unrealistic deadlines and significant technology and infrastructure issues,” said EMA President Rob Underwood. “Energy marketers’ customers and consumers in California and states that follow suit will undoubtedly see disruptions, along with higher prices and fewer options for obtaining fuel.”

EMA joins the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, 19 States (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia), and other groups in opposing the EPA rule.

A key issue in the challenge to EPA’s waiver is the agency’s determination under the Clean Air Act that California needs separate ACT standards “to meet compelling and extraordinary [air quality] conditions” in the State. Whether California can blaze its own trail on combatting climate change also implicates the “major questions doctrine,” which holds that courts should not defer to agencies on questions of “vast economic or political significance” unless Congress has provided explicit authority to the agencies. The appeals court will be asked to decide whether Congress authorized California in the Clean Air Act to regulate vehicle emissions to target a phenomenon like climate change which has a global cause and effect.

“EMA cannot read any clear language in the Clean Air Act that permits EPA to delegate one state — California — the authority to address climate change in ways that clearly would upend the country’s energy and transportation sectors,” added Underwood.