Illegal Golden State power grab pushes “California Knows Best” Economics on America

Washington, D.C. – On behalf of the American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce (AmFree Chamber) and Associated Equipment Distributors (AED), Boyden Gray PLLC filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California challenging an illegal California rule that seeks to ban heavy-duty internal-combustion trucks and vans. The California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) “Advanced Clean Fleets” (ACF) plan orders disfavored fleets with vehicles that cross into California or service the state’s ports and railyards to discard their internal-combustion vehicles and buy expensive, heavy, and low-range trucks that use batteries instead. 

Through ACF, CARB is effectively requiring many out-of-state fleet owners and operators to replace their working internal-combustion vehicles with some 570,000 alternative powertrain trucks by 2045 (and by 2035 for drayage fleets), up from virtually zero today. The lawsuit contends: “That transition won’t happen on the vast scale imagined by CARB. But the scramble to comply with a plan that defies the laws of physics, chemistry, and economics will be remarkably destructive.” 

Interstate trucks ship goods from California’s ports, which account for 70% of all U.S. containerized imports by weight, across the country. And, as the complaint explains, the Golden State is using its territorial monopoly to force a “‘California knows best’ economic philosophy” on the rest of the country, in violation of the Clean Air Act, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994. 

As the complaint explains:

  • California cannot adopt ACF without first obtaining approval from the federal government under the Clean Air Act. It has not, and cannot, secure that approval. California, however, falsely claims it does not require federal approval.
  • California effectively seeks to unlawfully second-guess the “maximum feasible” fuel-consumption standard that is set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • California’s rule will unlawfully distort vehicle rates and routes, in violation of federal law promoting a free, competitive market for trucks.

Boyden Gray PLLC’s challenge is led by partner Michael Buschbacher, who is lead or co-lead counsel in six ongoing challenges to electric vehicle mandates, including challenges to EPA’s light-duty emissions rules, the Department of Transportation’s fuel economy rules, and three separate lawsuits challenging various California electric vehicle mandates.

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