California sued, again, over Advanced Clean Fleets rule

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, April 8, 2024:

Former U.S. Attorney General’s group suing California over emissions rule

A group whose legal arm is led by former U.S. Attorney General William Barr is suing California over its Advanced Clean Fleets regulation requiring fleets to transition to zero-emissions trucks, beginning this year in the drayage sector.

The American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce (AmFree Chamber), whose Center for Legal Action is chaired by Barr, and Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) filed the lawsuit on April 1. The ACF rule is also under fire from the California Trucking Association, which filed suit in October.

“The ability to move people and products reliably and affordably is foundational to free enterprise and a functioning marketplace that serves American consumers,” said Gentry Collins, AmFree Chamber CEO. “The attempt currently underway by the state of California to ban liquid fuels and internal combustion engines is a major threat to the American way of life and terrible climate policy to boot.”

AmFree Chamber called the mandate “a power grab that seeks to regulate out-of-state truck fleets if they so much as cross the state line even once per year.”

“AED members supply and service the equipment critical to our nation’s construction, agriculture, forestry, industrial and energy sectors,” said Brian P. McGuire, AED’s President and CEO. “We cannot sit on the sidelines as California exceeds its legal authority and businesses are forced to adopt products that aren’t readily available in the marketplace.”

[Related: Do fleets need to comply with California's now-halted diesel ban?]

The complaint claims that the ACF is illegal, stating that the California Air Resources Board has not obtained a waiver of Clean Air Act preemption from the Environmental Protection Agency, adding that it is separately preempted by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 and by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (F4A).

Regarding Clean Air Act preemption from the EPA, which CARB has applied for, the lawsuit states that “CARB refuses to concede that it needs a waiver to enforce” the rule. In EISA, Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to improve the fuel efficiency of trucks exceeding 8,500 pounds. The lawsuit states that CARB violated this law because they require manufacturers to go further in improving fuel consumption than the federal maximum.

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The lawsuit also claims that CARB’s rules violate the F4A because they “relate to and are intimately connected with carrier rates, routes, and services, and so they are preempted” by F4A. “The rules compel motor carriers to modify their operations in ways that will significantly affect their services, routes, and rates.”

The lawsuit seeks to deem the ACF as illegal, along with a permanent injunction blocking its enforcement.

[Related: How California's Advanced Clean Fleets regs impact businesses]

ACERTUS has acquired Guardian Auto Transport

Automotive logistics-as-a-service platform ACERTUS has acquired Guardian Auto Transport – a move that gets ACERTUS into large-format vehicles. Terms of the deal – ACERTUS's sixth – were not disclosed. The company has previously acquired MetroTitle, Amerifleet, McNutt, VehicHaul TMS, and most recently, RCG Logistics. 

“Strategic partnerships and investments are core to ACERTUS’s ability to serve the needs of our customers and deliver a full suite of vehicle logistics services,” said Trent Broberg, CEO of ACERTUS. “The acquisition allows us to expand our capabilities while fostering Guardian Auto Transport’s deep and lasting relationships with Fleet Management Companies (FMCs)."

Guardian Auto Transport Co-Founder and CEO Mike Bulshteyn said his goal as long been to become complete logistics solution for the automotive sector, and joining ACERTUS "allows us to expand our service offerings, ensuring we consistently exceed our customers' expectations,” he said. "The platform brings increased operational support, advanced technology, and a robust infrastructure to enhance the delivery of a world-class customer experience. While our dedicated professionals continue to provide exceptional attention, our customers and vendors will now enjoy the added benefits of ACERTUS’ suite of services, including storage, title, registration, and more."