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Association of Am. RRs. v. South Coast Air Quality Management

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20246
Nos. No. 07-55804, (9th Cir., 09/15/2010)

The Ninth Circuit held that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (ICCTA) preempts three local government agency rules aimed at limiting air pollution from idling trains. The rules have not become a part of California's EPA-approved SIP and, thus, do not have the force and effect of federal law. Rather, they have the force and effect of state law. The ICCTA, therefore, preempts the rules unless they are rules of general applicability that do not unreasonably burden railroad activity. Here, the rules fail to meet that test. The rules apply exclusively and directly to railroad activity, requiring the railroads to reduce emissions and to provide, under threat of penalties, specific reports on its emissions and inventory. Because the ICCTA preempts all state laws that may reasonably be said to have the effect of managing or governing rail transportation, the ICCTA preempts the rules in this case.