California Air Resources Board Issues Clean Truck Check Implementation Guidance

On August 23, 2023, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) published additional guidance for the implementation of Clean Truck Check requirements under its Heavy Duty Inspection/Maintenance regulation. The requirements build on implementation guidance issued in June and set deadlines to achieve compliance with certain requirements beginning by December 31, 2023. Fleet owners and operators, and those contracting or brokering loads with heavy-duty trucks, should take note of CARB’s implementation timeline and prepare to comply with reporting and fee payment requirements beginning in the fourth quarter of 2023.

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Joint Office of Energy and Transportation Names Electric Vehicle Working Group Members

On August 3, 2023, the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation — created through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to facilitate collaboration between the U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE) and Transportation (DOT) — officially announced the members of its Electric Vehicle (EV) Working Group, an independent advisory board. Parties interested in the growth of EVs in the United States should take note of the group, which will coordinate and consult on the development, adoption, and integration of EVs into the transportation and energy systems of the United States.

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Regulated Entities in California Communities May Face More Investigation and Enforcement by California Air Resources Board

Regulated entities in designated communities — compiled and termed the “Consistently Nominated AB 617 Communities list” — will want to pay close attention to updates from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on its Community Protection Program Blueprint 2.0. Currently, communities in the Bay Area, Imperial, San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento Metropolitan, and South Coast air districts are on the list. As part of a mandate to reduce toxic air contaminant and criteria pollutant emissions in communities that have a high cumulative exposure burden, CARB is updating the Program Blueprint 2.0 as required under Assembly Bill 617, adopted by the California Legislature July 26, 2017. CARB’s present revisions may result in increased investigation and enforcement of regulated entities in these communities.

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Spring 2023 Agenda Previews Continued U.S. Significant Environmental Regulatory Action

On June 13, 2023, the Biden administration released the 2023 Spring Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (Agenda). The Agenda lists federal agencies’ planned “short-term” regulatory actions to be taken over the next 12 months and “long-term” actions under development. The dates listed in the Agenda are based on publication dates in the Federal Register. Stakeholders should take note, as the Agenda provides a window into the administration’s priorities and strategies:

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California Senator Reignites Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Disclosure Bill

A new bill introduced in the California legislature tees up corporate disclosure legislation that narrowly failed to pass the State Assembly during last year’s term. The bill would impose broad greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting requirements on large businesses doing business in California and could effectively set a national standard for these businesses to report GHG emissions.

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California Air Resources Board Set to Finalize Ambitious Climate Plan

On November 16, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released an updated version of its 2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality. The plan sets ambitious goals for achieving carbon neutrality in California by 2045. Despite the plan’s being only a guiding document, it will likely lead to other agency actions that set stringent requirements related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Best Practices For Auto Boards During Industry Revolution

The Nikola case stands at the intersection of several emerging risk areas in the automotive industry. For example, as regulators in the U.S. and European Union continue to ratchet up the pressure on climate change goals, and environmental, social and corporate governance, boards need to be extra careful about their companies’ commitments to going carbon neutral and the efficacy of electric vehicles.

That means putting clear plans and metrics in place to ensure appropriate follow-through and effective communications with investors so that they are well-informed about the caveats, risks and limitations.

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U.S. Appeals, Seeks Stay of Injunction of Social Cost of Greenhouse Gas Estimates

On Saturday, February 19, 2022, the United States appealed an injunction prohibiting federal agencies from adopting and relying on the interim Social Cost of Greenhouse Gas estimates established by the Interagency Working Group. (more…)

Federal Judge Blocks Biden’s Social Cost of Greenhouse Gas Estimates

On February 11, 2022, Judge James Cain of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming (Plaintiff States) to prohibit federal agencies from adopting and relying on the interim Social Cost of Greenhouse Gas (SC-GHG) estimates established by the Interagency Working Group (IWG). Executive Order 13990 mandated that IWG publish estimates of the monetized damages associated with incremental increases in greenhouse gas emissions. (more…)

VW Cert Petition Raises Clean Air Act Circuit Split

On August 27, 2021, Volkswagen AG and several affiliates (petitioners) filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States seeking to overturn a decision of the Ohio Supreme Court that held the Clean Air Act (CAA) did not preempt state antitampering law. Petitioners assert that the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision was wrong because the CAA preempts state laws regulating emission controls. In support of their request to the U.S. Supreme Court, petitioners argue that there is a growing split among lower courts on the issue of CAA preemption, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (and now the Ohio Supreme Court) holding that the CAA does not preempt state emission control laws and the Alabama Supreme Court and intermediate appellate courts in Tennessee and Minnesota holding that it does. (more…)