Republican states sue EPA, California over EV truck mandate

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A coalition of Republican state attorneys general on Tuesday announced two lawsuits against the Biden administration and the state of California challenging emissions rules for trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles.

The first lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, challenges the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules, finalized in March. Those rules, which the EPA has projected will avert up to 1 billion tons of carbon emissions over a three-decade period, will require an estimated 30 percent of heavy-duty trucks to be fully emissions-free by 2032.

In a second lawsuit, filed in the Eastern District of California, plaintiffs argued that California’s statewide truck emissions rules are essentially a nationwide mandate due to California ports’ role as major way stations for shipping. The Golden State’s rules would require half of all medium- and heavy-duty vehicles acquired by state and local governments to be emissions-free between 2024 and 2026, with the requirement increasing to 100 percent in 2027. It also required that all new drayage trucks — those used to convey containers and bulk goods — added to California’s fleet be zero-emission beginning on January 1 of this year.

Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers (R) led a coalition of 24 states for the EPA lawsuit and 17 states and a trucking trade group on the California complaint.

“California and an unaccountable EPA are trying to transform our national trucking industry and supply chain infrastructure. This effort—coming at a time of heightened inflation and with an already-strained electrical grid—will devastate the trucking and logistics industry, raise prices for customers, and impact untold number of jobs across Nebraska and the country. Neither California nor the EPA has the constitutional power to dictate these nationwide rules to Americans,” Hilgers said in a statement.

The Biden administration has set ambitious goals for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, of which the transportation sector in general and the trucking industry in particular comprise a large portion. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks comprised just under a quarter of total U.S. transportation emissions in 2021, second only to light-duty vehicles, according to the EPA.

The EPA told The Hill that it does not comment on pending litigation.

The Hill has reached out to California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) for comment.

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