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Alabama joins lawsuits over regulations on truck emissions

FILE - Motor vehicle traffic moves along the Interstate 76 highway in Philadelphia, March 31, 2021. Dozens of Republican attorneys general on Monday, May 13, 2024, took legal action against the Biden Administration and California over new emissions limits for trucks. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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AP
FILE - Motor vehicle traffic moves along the Interstate 76 highway in Philadelphia, March 31, 2021. Dozens of Republican attorneys general on Monday, May 13, 2024, took legal action against the Biden Administration and California over new emissions limits for trucks. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall signed on with dozens of other States that are suing the Biden Administration and California over new limits on truck emissions. Nebraska AG Mike Hilgers launched the effort against the environmental regulations Monday. EPA officials have said the strict emissions standards will help clean up some of the nation's largest sources of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

A separate lawsuit against California claims a phased-in ban on internal-combustion trucks is unconstitutional and will hurt the U.S. economy. Hilgers in a statement said the EPA and California rules "will devastate the trucking and logistics industry, raise prices for customers, and impact untold number of jobs across Nebraska and the country."

"There's not one trucking charging station in the state of Nebraska," Hilgers later told reporters. "Trying to take that industry, which was built up over decades with diesel and fossil fuels-based infrastructure, and transforming it to an electric-based infrastructure – it's probably not feasible."

EPA officials have said the strict emissions standards will help clean up some of the nation's largest sources of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

The new EPA rules are slated to take effect for model years 2027 through 2032, and the agency has said they will avoid up to 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the next three decades.

Emissions restrictions could especially benefit an estimated 72 million people in the U.S. who live near freight routes used by trucks and other heavy vehicles and bear a disproportionate burden of dangerous air pollution, the agency has said.

A spokesperson for the EPA declined to comment on the legal challenge to the new rules Monday, citing the pending litigation.

California rules being challenged by Republican attorneys general would ban big rigs and buses that run on diesel from being sold in California starting in 2036.

An email seeking comment from California's Air Resources Board was not immediately answered Monday.

California has been aggressive in trying to rid itself of fossil fuels, passing new rules in recent years to phase out gas-powered cars, trucks, trains and lawn equipment in the nation's most populous state. Industries, and Republican leaders in other states, are pushing back.

Another band of GOP-led states in 2022 challenged California's authority to set emissions standards that are stricter than rules set by the federal government. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last month ruled that the states failed to prove how California's emissions standards would drive up costs for gas-powered vehicles in their states.

States that joined Nebraska's latest action against the EPA are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

States that joined Nebraska's lawsuit against California are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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