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Engine Mfrs. Ass'n v. S. Coast Air Quality Mgmt. Dist.

Supreme Court of the United States

January 14, 2004, Argued ; April 28, 2004, Decided

No. 02-1343

Opinion

 [*248]  [**1759]   Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court.

Respondent South Coast Air Quality Management District (District) is a political subdivision of California responsible for air pollution control in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and parts of surrounding counties that make up the South Coast Air Basin. It enacted six Fleet Rules that generally prohibit the purchase or lease by various public and private  [*249]  fleet operators of vehicles that do not comply with stringent emission requirements. The question in this case is whether these local Fleet Rules escape pre-emption under § 209(a) of the Clean Air Act (CAA),  [****5]  81 Stat 502, as renumbered and amended, 42 U.S.C. § 7543(a)42 USCS § 7543(a)], because they address the purchase of vehicles, rather than their manufacture or sale.

] The District is responsible under state law for developing and implementing a "comprehensive basinwide air quality management plan" to reduce emission levels and thereby achieve and maintain "state and federal ambient air quality standards." Cal. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 40402(e) (West 1996). Between June and October 2000, the District adopted six Fleet Rules. ] The Rules govern operators of fleets of street sweepers (Rule 1186.1), of passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty vehicles (Rule 1191), of public transit vehicles and urban buses (Rule 1192), of solid waste collection vehicles (), of airport passenger transportation vehicles, including shuttles and taxicabs picking up airline passengers (), and of heavy-duty on-road vehicles (Rule 1196). All six Rules apply to public operators; three apply to private operators as well (Rules 1186.1, 1193, and 1194).

] The Fleet Rules contain detailed prescriptions regarding the types of vehicles that fleet operators must  [***535]  purchase or lease [****6]  when adding or replacing fleet vehicles. Four of the Rules (1186.1, 1192, 1193, and 1196) require the purchase or lease of "alternative-fuel vehicles," 1 [****7]  and the other two  [*250]  (1191 and 1194) require the purchase or lease of either "alternative-fueled vehicles" 2 or vehicles that meet certain  [**1760] emission specifications established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). 3 CARB is a statewide regulatory body that California law designates as "the air pollution control agency for all purposes set forth in federal law." Cal. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 39602 [*251]  (West 1996). The Rules require operators to keep records of their purchases and leases and provide access to them upon request. See, e.g., Rule 1186.1(g)(1), App. 23. Violations expose fleet operators to fines and other sanctions. See Cal. Health & Safety Code Ann. §§ 42400-42410, 40447.5 (West 1996 and Supp. 2004).

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541 U.S. 246 *; 124 S. Ct. 1756 **; 158 L. Ed. 2d 529 ***; 2004 U.S. LEXIS 3232 ****; 72 U.S.L.W. 4295; 7 A.L.R. Fed. 2d 707; 34 ELR 20028; 58 ERC (BNA) 1193; 17 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 233

ENGINE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION and WESTERN STATES PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION, Petitioners v. SOUTH COAST AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT et al.

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

Engine Mfrs. Ass'n v. S. Coast Air Quality Mgmt. Dist., 309 F.3d 550, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 22144 (9th Cir. Cal., 2002)

Disposition: Vacated and remanded.

CORE TERMS

Fleet, manufacturers, emissions, engine, preemption, new motor vehicle, pre-empted, purchasers, Air, pollution, regulation, motor vehicle, restrictions, mandates, specifications, emission standards, incentive program, alternative-fuel, certification, categorical, programs, cleaner, lease, fuel, political subdivision, air quality, inspection, principles, proviso, diesel

Business & Corporate Compliance, Environmental Law, Air Quality, National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Environmental Law, State Implementation Plans, General Overview, Transportation Law, Carrier Duties & Liabilities, Hazardous Materials, Contracts Law, Types of Contracts, Lease Agreements, Transportation Law, Bridges & Roads, Street Cleaning, Public Transportation, Energy & Utilities Law, Electric Power Industry, State Regulation, Private Vehicles, Safety Standards, Emission Control, Emission Standards, Mobile Emissions Sources, Federal Versus State Law, Federal Preemption, Enforcement, Commercial Vehicles, Traffic Regulation, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Administrative Proceedings, Patent Law, Utility Patents, Product Patents, Manufactures