The Cullen Law Firm PLLC files an amicus brief concerning the EPA’s approval of California’s zero-emission vehicle rules.


The Cullen Law Firm PLLC filed an amicus curiae brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia supporting a challenge to EPA’s approval of California’s electric automobile mandate.  Ohio v. EPA (Case No. 22-1081) was filed by 17 states, who were joined by numerous intervenors from the petroleum and agricultural industries.  EPA is supported by another group of 20 states, the District of Columbia, the cities of New York and Los Angeles, and a number of groups that support stronger clean air rules. Multiple amici curiae filed briefs on both sides of the matter.

Section 209 of the Clean Air Act denies any state the authority to regulate vehicle emissions standards.  42 U.S.C. § 7543(a).  However, in an exception to this prohibition, California was granted the opportunity to impose stricter “state standards” for emissions “to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions.” Id. at § 7543(b). The waiver originally granted to California was revoked by the Trump Administration but reinstated by the EPA under President Biden in March 2022.

Filed on behalf of the small business trucking trade association, the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the amicus brief is focused on the scope of the EPA’s authority to permit California to impose environmental rules that are stricter than the federal rules.  The present case concerns California’s Advanced Clean Car Program.  But if the court finds that EPA has broad discretion to permit these rules, then the EPA could use that same discretion to permit California’s prospective rules requiring the use of electric heavy-duty trucks.  California’s Air Resources Board states on its website:

CARB is developing a medium and heavy-duty zero-emission fleet regulation with the goal of achieving a zero-emission truck and bus California fleet by 2045 everywhere feasible and significantly earlier for certain market segments such as last mile delivery and drayage applications.


TCLF helped OOIDA file comments in the California electric heavy truck rulemaking concerned with the burdens such rules will have on businesses and other states.  In the amicus brief OOIDA argues that requiring a trucker from anywhere in the country that wants to cross the state border to operate in California must drive a zero-emission truck would allow the Golden State effectively to impose a regulation that impacts the entire U.S. trucking industry:

  • In June 2022, estimated that nearly 3 million Class 8 (heavyweight) trucks accounted for 139.3 billion miles annually on the nation’s highways; and that the United States economy depends on trucks to deliver nearly 70 percent of all freight transported annually in the U.S., accounting for $671 billion worth of manufactured and retail goods transported by truck in the U.S. alone.
  • OOIDA highlights the inadequacy or outright absence of infrastructure available to charge and service electric vehicles.
  • Electric trucks are both vastly more expensive and far heavier than their diesel-powered counterparts.
  • Currently, all-electric vehicles charging stations are particular to the brand of vehicle to be charged. Tesla charging stations do not work for Volkswagens or Fords, and vice versa.
  • Truck drivers’ time behind the wheel is already heavily circumscribed. Adding to those restrictions the time required to charge an electric vehicle, as compared to filling up a fuel tank, would upend trucking services as we currently know them.
  • OOIDA is aware of no studies contemplating whether the nation’s electric power grid could accommodate the additional burden of charging the vast number of electric vehicles that California’s Clean Trucks and Clean Fleets initiatives would put on the road.

The amicus brief describes that California’s zero-emission truck rules would have the effect of regulating and changing the business structure of a large component of the trucking industry across the country, and create new demands for infrastructure, charging stations and support services that are beyond California’s control or responsibility. Accordingly, OOIDA argues that only Congress has the authority and responsibility to impose a rule with such a national impact.  A copy of the amicus brief may be found here.

For more information, please contact TCLF at

Tags: , , , , ,
Category: News The Cullen Law Firm, PLLC