Three men standing in a warehouse managing ending inventory counts

The federal court upheld a Southern California warehouse emissions rule. The California Trucking Association (CTA) claimed it resembled a ZEV mandate. The CTA challenged the rule set by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) in May 2021, citing Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (F4A) preemption.However, the court rejected the CTA’s arguments.

Joined by Airlines for America (A4A) in the lawsuit, they contended that the rule might impact operational changes, potentially necessitating the use of ZEVs or near-zero-emission vehicles (NZEV). Despite these claims, the court dismissed their arguments and requests for judgment in the case.

The warehouse rule focuses on emission standards and rewards eco-friendly practices. Actions like using on-site ZEVs or participating in ZEV-based deliveries earn points. The Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions program assigns each warehouse a WAIRE Points Compliance Obligation (WPCO).

Although there’s no explicit ZEV mandate, the rule’s metrics have led to an increase in ZEV or NZEV truck purchases by some companies to meet WPCO goals. However, a significant portion of compliance points—about 13%—came from other actions.

The court upheld the rule, emphasizing its focus on indirect emission sources at facilities rather than regulating truck emissions directly. The court treated warehouse visits and truck miles equally in compliance metrics. They differentiated between them for compliance purposes.

In summary, the court emphasized the significance of trucking operations for air carriers. Despite this, the SCAQMD rule, which targets indirect emissions, was determined not to have a direct impact on motor carrier prices, services, or routes. The court dismissed F4A or ADA preemption claims as a result.