“With profit margins being so close, if we lose our biodiesel market, it would be a serious matter for soybean farmers to face,” Worth said.

The lawsuit contends the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act, or EPCA, creates a uniform national standard for vehicle fuel efficiency and prohibits states from adopting policies on federal fuel-economy standards.

EPCA says that a “State or a political subdivision of a State” cannot “adopt or enforce a law or regulation related to fuel economy standards or average fuel economy standards.”

The groups argue in the lawsuit that in EPCA, Congress disallowed the National Highway Safety Administration from considering the fuel economy of vehicles that run on “alternative fuels” (such as electricity) in setting fuel-economy standards.

The suit also challenges Congress’ decision to grant only California authority to adopt its own motor-vehicle emission standards different from those set by the U.S. government.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued new rules governing carbon-dioxide emissions. The rules require automakers to increase fuel economy in their fleets. The rules also mandate a sales quota on zero-emissions vehicles.

“Though these new rules will apply in Minnesota, imposing considerable costs on nearly every facet of the transportation industry and citizens across the state, neither the Minnesota Legislature nor MPCA had any hand in drafting them,” the lawsuit said.

“Instead, MPCA ‘incorporated by reference’ over 45 provisions of the California code of regulations that regulate vehicle emissions, simply noting that the term ‘Minnesota’ should be ‘substituted’ for ‘California.’ Federal law and the Constitution stand in the way of this scheme. In short, state regulations of tailpipe carbon-dioxide emissions are not just ‘related to’ fuel-economy standards — they are a de facto regulation of fuel economy. As such, they are expressly preempted by EPCA.”

Last year, 17 states, agriculture and fuel interests sued the EPA, alleging the agency’s March 2022 decision to reinstate California’s legal authority to implement zero-emissions vehicle sales mandate and greenhouse gas emissions standards as a backdoor way to move the entire country away from gasoline-powered vehicles. That case is pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, https://www.dtnpf.com/….

On March 9, 2022, EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the agency rescinded a Trump administration action turning down California’s request.

Since then, 17 states and the District of Columbia have adopted California’s greenhouse-gas emissions standards and zero-emissions-vehicle mandate.

For the first time in 2005, California sought a waiver from the EPA to establish its own emissions standards for greenhouse gases. EPA denied that request in 2008, arguing the Clean Air Act does not authorize California to tackle national and international emissions problems.

The agency changed course under a new administration, granting California the waiver in 2013. The EPA again withdrew the waiver in 2019.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley

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