SACRAMENTO — Leading a coalition of 16 Attorneys General, the California Air Resources Board, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for suspending its 2016 Glider Rule for one year. The Glider Rule mandates that most engines installed in “gliders” – new heavy-duty freight truck bodies outfitted with refurbished or rebuilt pre-2010 highly-polluting diesel engines – meet the same emissions standards applicable to all newly manufactured engines. Via a memorandum dated July 6, 2018, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s last day in office, the EPA committed to take no action to enforce the Glider Rule’s annual manufacturing cap of 300 gliders per company. This cap is meant to protect our air from the excessive smog-forming and particulate-matter pollution emitted by outdated engines. On July 13, 2018, Attorney General Becerra demanded from the EPA an immediate withdrawal of its order suspending the Glider Rule. Because the EPA failed to act, the coalition is filing today’s lawsuit and an emergency motion asking the court to promptly overturn the EPA’s order or halt the order’s effect until the court can rule on the merits of the lawsuit.
“As EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt’s job was to act as our country’s chief environmental protector. At every turn – even until the bitter end – he failed to carry out this important duty and instead put the profits of major polluters above the health of our families,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Glider engines pose a danger to our health and our environment. The EPA itself has estimated that adding 10,000 gliders with non-compliant engines onto our roads in a single year could result in up to 1,600 premature deaths, 415,000 tons of additional nitrogen oxide emissions, and 6,800 tons of additional particulate matter emissions over the lifetime of those trucks. We look forward to making our case in court and to holding the EPA accountable for its blatant violation of our laws.”
The action taken on former Administrator Pruitt’s last day will allow the sale of trucks that produce many times more emissions of hazardous pollutants than new, more fuel efficient trucks. Emissions from these high-polluting trucks are linked to asthma, low birth weight, infant mortality, and lung cancer. In California and elsewhere, the rest of the trucking industry has already made substantial investments to comply with stringent emissions standards. These industries would face an uneven playing field if forced to compete against unregulated, high-polluting glider manufacturers who avoid such investments.
The Environmental Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club have filed a separate lawsuit against the EPA on this matter. Yesterday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of these environmental groups and granted an administrative stay, which means that the order issued on former EPA Administrator Pruitt’s final day in office will be temporarily blocked until both parties – the environmental groups and the EPA – complete briefing on the environmental groups’ emergency motion. The coalition led by Attorney General Becerra today is filing its own lawsuit due to the irreparable harm that the states and their citizens would suffer if the EPA’s order were allowed to stand.
Joining Attorney General Becerra in filing this lawsuit are the Attorneys General of Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. The California Air Resources Board, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are also part of the coalition.
A copy of the petition for review and emergency motion for summary vacatur, or in the alternative, for stay pending judicial review can be found here.