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American Auto. Mfrs. Ass'n v. Cahill

Citation: 28 ELR 21491
No. 97-7972, 152 F.3d 196/(2d Cir., 08/11/1998)

The court holds that New York's zero emission vehicle (ZEV) sales requirement for model years 1998-2002 is preempted by Clean Air Act (CAA) § 209. The court first holds that the ZEV sales requirement must be considered a standard "relating to the control of emissions" and is, therefore, within the preemptive scope of § 209. A requirement that a particular percentage of vehicle sales be ZEVs has no purpose other than to effect a general reduction in emissions. Thus, the ZEV sales requirement is in the nature of a command having a direct effect on the level of emissions, rather than in the nature of a means of enforcing, or testing effectiveness of, a command. The court next holds that New York's ZEV sales requirement does not fall within CAA § 177's exception for standards identical to those adopted by California. The ZEV sales requirement adopted by New York is no longer a California standard for the model years in question. Moreover, New York's ZEV sales requirement does not apply to mediumduty vehicles, as did the original California requirements. The court also holds that the existence of memorandum of agreements (MOAs) between California and automobile manufacturers is irrelevant. If Congress desires to allow other states to impose California's MOAs as their own regulations, legislation permitting that and describing the preconditions to such regulation will be necessary. [A prior decision in this litigation is published at 28 ELR 20092.]

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Phillip A. Lacovara
Mayer, Brown & Platt
1675 Broadway, New York NY 10019
(212) 506-2500

Counsel for Defendants
James M. Tierney, Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
120 Broadway, 25th Fl., New York NY 10271
(212) 416-8050

Before McLaughlin,* J.