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Engine Mfrs. Ass'n v. South Coast Air Quality Maintenance Dist.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20210
Nos. No. 05-56654, (9th Cir., 08/20/2007) Appeal on remand

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court decision that the Clean Air Act (CAA) does not preempt certain provisions of local "fleet rules" requiring operators to meet specified emission standards or engine requirements, but reversed and remanded the court's refusal to consider whether the CAA preempts other provisions of the rules. The lower court properly held that, under the market participant doctrine, the CAA does not preempt those provisions of the fleet rules directing state and local governmental entities' purchasing, procuring, leasing, and contracting decisions. The CAA does not contain any express or implied indication by Congress that the presumption embodied by the market participant doctrine should not apply to preemption under the Act. Here, the provisions at issue constitute direct state participation in the market and reflect the state's own interest in its efficient procurement of needed goods and services. The lower court, however, erred in holding that because those provisions were protected by the market participant doctrine, the plaintiffs' facial challenge to the rules entirely failed. Instead, the court should have gone on to address whether the remaining provisions were preempted. Each fleet rule contains multiple provisions, placing restrictions on specific lists of public or private entities. On remand, the court must decide whether these remaining provisions are preempted by the CAA.

[A prior decision in this litigation can be found at 34 ELR 20028.]