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April 24 — A federal appeals court dismissed challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks after finding the petitioners lacked standing to bring their lawsuits.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found in an April 24 per curiam opinion that California trucking groups opposed to the EPA's greenhouse gas emissions limits on the grounds they could increase costs for vehicles failed to demonstrate how they were actually harmed by the rule and how vacating it would bring them relief. The EPA's greenhouse gas rule (RIN 2060–AP61) was issued jointly with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's corporate average fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Trucking groups, however, only challenged the EPA's portion of the standards.
Vacating the EPA's rule would leave the NHTSA standards in place, the court said in its decision. “Therefore, even were we to vacate the EPA standards, the NHTSA standards would still increase the price of vehicles,” the court said.
Attorneys for the petitioners could not be reached for comment.
The rule was challenged by the California Construction Trucking Association Inc., Delta Construction Co. and other trucking groups that were represented at argument by Theodore Hadzi-Antich, a senior staff attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation. The groups had argued that the EPA's rule should have been vacated because the agency failed to send its rule to the Science Advisory Board for review before it was issued.
The judges heard argument in the lawsuits in January.
The rule also was challenged by Plant Oil Powered (POP) Diesel Fuel Systems Inc., which manufactures systems to enable diesel engines to run on vegetable oil, but that lawsuit was dismissed after D.C. Circuit determined it should have been filed in a federal district court instead.
POP Diesel had petitioned NHTSA to reconsider aspects of the heavy-duty truck rule, but that petition was filed after the 45-day statutory window for reconsideration. Petitions that are filed late are treated as petitions for rulemaking, which are the purview of District Courts and not appellate courts, D.C. Circuit said.
The court also found that POP Diesel's challenge to the EPA's portion of the requirements is outside of the “zone of interests” protected by the Clean Air Act. Just because POP Diesel's products may align with the EPA's environmental goals does not automatically confer them standing under the statute, the judges said.
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