19 States Sue EPA Over California’s New Zero-Emission Rules for Big Rigs


A coalition of states has filed a lawsuit seeking a review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to grant waivers to California that allows the state to ban new diesel-powered heavy-duty truck sales in 2035.

Iowa’s Attorney General Brenna Bird led the group of 19 states that filed the legal action on June 5 in the Washington, D.C. appeals court.

The states are asking the court for a review of the EPA’s final action in April to grant the California Air Resource Board two waivers to set stricter emissions rules than the federal Clean Air Act allows, clearing a path for the state to phase out heavy-duty on-road diesel-powered vehicles and engines.

The waivers will pave the way for several more states to adopt California’s ban, the lawsuit claims.

“The EPA and California have no right or legal justification to force truckers to follow their radical climate agenda,” Bird said in a June 6 release. “America would grind to a halt without truckers who deliver our food, clothes, and other necessities. Iowa isn’t going to take a backseat as the EPA and California try to regulate truckers out of business. We’re pushing back.”

In addition to Iowa, the states challenging the new regulations are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

California’s new regulations are setting the standard for the rest of the country.

Eight more states have adopted the new truck ban and more are considering it, according to Morrisey.

“This woke climate agenda the Biden administration continues to shove into hard working Americans’ throats will cause massive job losses, increase costs and devastate the demand for liquid fuels, such as biodiesel,” Morrisey said.

Under California’s new Advanced Clean Fleets rule, vehicles for private services, state, and local government fleets, last-minute delivery services, and Postal Service vehicles, can continue to operate existing vehicles, but are required to begin to transition to zero-emission vehicles starting next year. They must all be electric or zero-emissions by 2035, according to the California Air Resource Board.

Heavy-duty drayage trucks, which deliver goods to and from seaports, must be zero-emission also by 2035, though some national and state industry organizations have vocally opposed the measure.

All combustion truck sales in the state will end in 2036, a first-in-the-world regulation.

Work trucks and cab tractors must be switched to zero-emission by 2039, and all sleeper cab tractors or specialty vehicles are required to transition by 2042, the resource board reported.

The Advanced Clean Fleets rule followed the 2020 adoption of the Advance Clean Trucks rule, which requires manufacturers to increase the sale of zero-emission trucks, which was granted the contested EPA vouchers in April.

“The Advanced Clean Fleets rule is a reasonable and innovative approach to clean up the vehicles on our roads and ensure that Californians have the clean air that they want and deserve,” said resource board Chair Liane Randolph in an April 28 release.

In the past few years, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has pushed California to tighten climate-action measures and transition to zero-emission transportation.

He signed an executive order in 2020 (pdf) calling for new heavy-duty vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2045. However, the state’s air resource board wanted to speed up the transition and approved the new measures at its April 27 meeting.

The governor’s executive order also aims for all new passenger cars and trucks sold in California to meet the same standard by 2035, which was already approved by the resource board last year, making California one of the first in the world to impose such a restriction.

Several industry organizations, truck drivers, and residents are concerned about the speedy transition, including groups that use the busy Los Angeles and Long Beach ports to pick up overseas goods and deliver them across the country.

The American Trucking Associations criticized EPA’s permit approval on March 31.

“By granting California’s waiver for its so-called advanced clean trucks rule, the EPA is handing over the keys as a national regulator,” Chris Spear, the organization’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “This isn’t the United States of California, and in order to mollify a never-satisfied fringe environmental lobby by allowing the state to proceed with these technologically infeasible rules on unworkable and unrealistic timelines, the EPA is sowing the ground for a future supply chain crisis.”

A California Air Resource Board spokesperson told The Epoch Times the agency did not have a comment about the lawsuit at this time.