California truckers file lawsuit against EPA for emissions regulations

After the federal government tightened its reins on emissions standards for big-rigs, RVs and tractor-trailers, California truckers are fighting back with a lawsuit to block the rules, saying the new regulations will put them out of business, according to a Jan. 6 report from

The new EPA standards are being compared to the rigorous fuel efficiency standards auto manufacturers must meet. (For a downloadable PDF of the California tractor-trailer greenhouse gas regulations, click here.)

The regulations require large trucks and buses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20 percent and overhaul engine design starting with models built in 2014. Most operators will need to spend thousands upgrading their rigs or buying new vehicles, with prices starting at $50,000 and going up from there, depending on the model, according to the Fox News report.

However, the group of California do not have the support of the trucking industry’s flagship association.

American Trucking Association (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves says although that the association isn’t necessarily “inclined to be supportive of federal involvement and regulations in our industry…but our experience in this case is one where we have to admit that the federal government did a really fine job of working collaboratively with all partners in this, to come up with what we think is a reasonable and fair rule,” Graves says in the Fox News report.

At the time of this post, no official press statement about the lawsuit had been made by the ATA.

Beginning Jan.1, 2012, truck fleets operating Class 7 and 8 trucks in California (outside of the state’s ports and rail yards)with model-year 1996 to 1999 engines must have been retrofitted with diesel particulate filters (DPFs) unless they qualify for an exemption, according to the ATA.

The regulation also requires trucks with model-year 2000 to 2006 engines to be retrofitted with DPFs during the next two years. Fleets have the option of phasing-in DPFs on 30 percent of their California operating fleet (including OEM installed DPFs), regardless of model-year, by January 1, 2012 with an additional 30 percent required each of the following two years, according to ATA.

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A compliance report must be filed with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) by January 31, 2012 in order to pursue the percentage option. CARB’s online reporting system is scheduled to be available by the end of the year.