Trucking Association will Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

Kevin Anderson Regulations, Transportation

In CDTOA v. Nichols, D.C. No. 2:11-cv-00384 (9th Cir. 2015), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a trucking association’s challenge of a burdensome California state regulation. The association argued that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution preempted the state from passing and implementing its regulation, but the 9th Circuit disagreed. Now the association will appeal the 9th Circuit’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

California’s Clean Air Trucking Regulation

In 2008, the California Air Resources Board passed a new regulation as part of California’s environmental plan with the Environmental Protection Agency. This new regulation requires that all heavy-duty diesel trucks doing business in California be upgraded with new pollution filters and lower-emission engines. The new regulation was California’s attempt at implementing air quality standards under the Clean Air Act. While the EPA approved the regulation, the trucking association still felt like it violated federal law principles. The regulation represents a challenging and expensive burden to California’s trucking industry, particularly when the states surrounding California do not have the same regulation. Due to the regulation, trucking companies that work around California will have a decided advantage over companies that work in and around California.

Association’s Challenge of the Regulation

The association’s primary argument is that the regulation is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act. Under the FAAAA, states are prohibited from enacting regulations that relate to the price, route, or service of motor carriers. The association reasoned that enforcing this regulation would cause trucking companies to raise prices, change routes, and alter how they perform their services. In their lawsuit, the trucking association sought an injunction against the California agency from enforcing the regulation, and they asked the court to strike the regulation entirely. After losing its challenge in U.S. District Court, the association appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Court’s Ruling

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the association’s case on procedural grounds. In its opinion, the court stated that the challenge was legally and practically a challenge to enforcement of a state implementation plan regulation, and therefore should have originated with the court of appeals under § 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act. Under § 307(b)(1) of the Clean Air Act, all challenges on the implementation of EPA regulations must begin in a U.S. Court of Appeals. Since the California regulation at issue is part of a joint state EPA regulatory scheme, the court held that the challenge was in the wrong court, and threw the case out. The association, on the other hand, argued that neither their complaint or argument had anything to do with § 307(b)(1). The association was arguing that their complaint is that the regulation is preempted by the FAAAA. The association was not arguing about the implementation of the regulation. Now the case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Get Legal Help

This case illustrates how complicated transportation law can be. The rules and regulations involved in any case related to trucking will include federal and state laws and regulations. The attorneys at Anderson and Yamada, P.C. dedicate their practice to navigating the complicated web of state and federal law to serve their client’s needs.