New York truck emissions rules struck down by court

| 5/9/2011

Part of a state law in New York aimed at reducing diesel emissions from heavy-duty trucks has been struck down in court.

In 2006, the New York legislature approved the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act that required trucks that were contracted by the state to use best available retrofit technology and ultra-low- sulfur diesel fuel.

The retrofit rules would have been burdensome, the New York Construction Materials Association asserted in the legal challenge, according to court documents. Only California has similar state law.

The emissions law would have required any truck used “on behalf of” the state to mean subcontractors, sub-subcontractors and others who didn’t have direct contracts with the state of New York, as enforced by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

The New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division agreed with the state trade association that the NYDEC didn’t have authority to require best available retrofits on trucks owned by anyone other than those leased or contracted by the state.

“We find nothing in the language of DERA, construed as a whole, indicating that the Legislature intended it to extend beyond prime contractors,” the court wrote.

Because all U.S. trucks use ultra-low sulfur diesel when purchased in the U.S., the diesel rule isn’t relevant, the court stated.

OOIDA’s business services department received multiple phone calls from OOIDA members who drive into New York, and who were worried they needed to comply with the state diesel emissions law.

New York’s DERA is not related to the federal Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, which is the mechanism by which many state and local diesel grant programs are funded.