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Court upholds California reefer rule enforcement

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled to affirm the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granting authorization to the California Air Resources Board for the Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM). This rule went into effect January 1, 2010.

The court found that the EPA reasonably applied authorization criteria of the Clean Air Act. The ruling is available at or at the TRU website at

This rule “does not require any other state to adopt California’s approach, and it does not apply anywhere but in California, and only to vehicles that have entered California,” the court wrote.

The court denied an American Trucking Associations (ATA) petition that contended the new emissions-reduction rule for any TRU crossing state lines unfairly imposes air quality standards on out-of-state motor carriers.

ATA claimed the rule is a “de facto national rule” because many trucks pass through California and will be subject to the rule, but the court called ATA’s argument “weak.”

“We’re disappointed,” Bob Digges, ATA vice-president and chief counsel, said of the ruling. ATA has not yet decided whether to ask for an “en banc” hearing with all nine members of the appeals court.

ATA argued in a brief filed in August 2009 that the EPA should not have granted California a Clear Air Action waiver needed for a state to enforce standards that are stricter than federal emissions requirements.

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