NY Supreme Court blocks diesel retrofit regulation

| 12/27/2010

The New York state Supreme Court recently struck down a controversial regulation that required retrofitting diesel engines of trucks working on government contracts and subcontracts.

New York Supreme Court Justice Donald Greenwood ruled Dec. 14 that trucks working for private fleets contracted by the state aren’t required to comply with regulations that followed a 2006 law.

The law was reportedly passed with the intent to require emission control devices on government owned trucks because such retrofits could be funded with federal money through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation expanded the regulation to include private fleets working on state jobs, according to the Gilberti, Stinziano, Heintz and Smith law firm. The firm represented the plaintiff, Riccelli Enterprises Inc., in the challenge.

Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA director of regulatory affairs, said the ruling and its significance shouldn’t be taken lightly by other states.

“The trucking industry faces many mandates from environmental agencies around the country. There are many of these regulations whose legal legitimacy is questionable,” Rajkovacz said.

“Kudos to the New York Supreme Court in upholding the law and signaling to the New York Department of Environmental Quality that ‘the ends do not justify the means’ in attempting to regulate where clearly they had no authority.”

Rajkovacz said states that create environmental regulations should do so fairly and only based on reliable science, Rajkovacz said.

“Many of these types of mandates under the guise of environmental issues are nothing more than veiled attempts to re-regulate the trucking industry – a point we’ve made in our petition to U.S. DOT on registries required by CARB and ports,” Rajkovacz said.

In New York, the Supreme Court is a trial court. It is not the state’s highest tribunal. New York’s highest court is the Court of Appeals.