Court Grants Pause on Lawsuit Over Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Efficiency Standards

The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) request for a 90-day hold on a lawsuit over the agency’s Phase 2 emissions and fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks manufactured beginning in 2019.
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The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) request for a 90-day hold on a lawsuit over the agency’s Phase 2 emissions and fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks manufactured beginning in 2019.

EPA asked for the delay so that it can review the rule and decide whether to modify or rescind it.

In its filing, EPA said its actions could resolve conflicts raised in a lawsuit filed by the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association, which challenged EPA’s authority to impose aerodynamic standards on the industry’s products.

EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2016 finalized joint greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that require up to 25 percent lower carbon emissions and fuel consumption over the next decade.

It also contained EPA’s first-ever regulations for trailers, which are scheduled to take effect in model year 2018 for certain trailers. NHTSA's standards were set to take effect as of 2021.

TTMA argues that EPA and NHTSA do not have the authority, under the Clean Air Act, to regulate trailers or require them to be more fuel efficient since they are not “motor-vehicles.” EPA indicated in its April 20 filing that the review of the standards could “obviate the need for judicial resolution of some or all the issues” raised by TTMA.

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