California dump truck owners sue CARB

Tina Barbaccia | February 23, 2011

As originally reported by www.equipmentworld.com, the California Dump Truck Owners Association has filed suit against the California Air Resources Board to challenge the legality of the agency’s Truck and Bus Regulation.

The lawsuit, California Dump Truck Owners Association v. Air Resources Board (Case 2:11-cv-00384-MCE -GGH), was filed in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division, on Feb. 11.

In the lawsuit, the association asserts that CARB’s regulation is unconstitutional as it is preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act and seeks an injunction prohibiting CARB from enforcing its rule. The association notes it has “attempted to work with CARB for more than four years to find reasonable solutions that accomplish the goal of cleaning California’s air while avoiding the needless devastation of the state’s trucking industry and specifically the dump truck industry.”

The association says the dump truck industry is struggling to survive due to a depressed regional economy, a construction industry suffering through 50 percent unemployment and rampant construction price deflation as contractors fight for what little work is available. CDTOA says the compounding damage caused by the construction industry depression, escalating costs and now the impacts of the CARB regulations “will cause incalculable damage within the construction transportation industry.”

The association claims CARB has repeatedly refused to address these many economic challenges. The association notes that due to what it calls “a lack of cooperation and empathy,” it was left with no choice other than litigation. “Our members are experiencing the worst economic conditions in living memory, and CARB continues to place impossible regulatory burdens on them at a time they can least afford it,” said Lee Brown, executive director of CDTOA. “Our members support clean air, but the air we breathe can’t be more important than the people that are breathing it.”

CARB’s Truck and Bus Regulation essentially requires all heavy-duty diesel vehicles currently on California’s roads to be replaced with new CARB-compliant vehicles. However, the association says its members have based their businesses on the ability to use their trucks for at least 800,000 miles, and they only average 50,000 miles a year.

A new CARB-compliant truck costs more than $150,000 to purchase. However, dump truck rates are down 40 percent, and the number of jobs has been cut in half from only a few years ago.

In 1994, the U.S. Congress explicitly acted to retain sole oversight over motor carriers in the United States in order to prevent state agencies from overregulation. The FAAAA prohibits any state or any political subdivision from enacting or enforcing any regulation related to the price, route or service of a motor carrier.

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