A New York Supreme Court judge recently blocked a Department of Environmental Conservation mandate requiring the owners of heavy-duty diesel vehicles to retrofit their fleets with costly new equipment.
The plaintiffs said the agency mistakenly applied a law intended to address state-owned vehicles to private owners. Justice Donald A. Greenwood agreed in a decision released on Dec. 15 in Riccelli Enterprises Inc. v. Department of Environmental Conservation.
“This is a landmark decision,” said Kendra Adams, executive director of the New York State Motor Truck Association. “From the beginning, we felt that the regulations extended much further than the original intent behind the legislation. NYSDEC really took broad strokes in their interpretation of the new legislation.”
When the Legislature passed the underlying legislation in 2006, it intended to require new emission control systems for state-owned trucks because federal money was available to pay for the retrofit. Private industry did not have federal money to pay for such retrofits. NYSDEC expanded the legislative intent of the law to include private-sector heavy-duty trucks.
If NYSDEC remained unchallenged, experts estimated that it would have cost billions of dollars to the state economy.
In its decision, the court said the Legislature did not grant DEC the authority to require diesel retrofits to vehicles that were not owned, leased or operated by the state or a limited number of private companies that contract with the state.
Government/Regulations: Related News
12/27/2010 – FMCSA Proposes Seven Changes in Hours Rule
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing seven changes in the current hours of service rules in order to, it says, give drivers the flexibility to take a break during the day and reduce the health and safety risks of long hours of work….
12/27/2010 – NY Judge Blocks Diesel-retrofit Mandate
A New York Supreme Court judge recently blocked a Department of Environmental Conservation mandate requiring the owners of heavy-duty diesel vehicles to retrofit their fleets with costly new equipment….
12/23/2010 – FMCSA Posts Proposed HOS Revisions
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has posted long-awaited proposed revisions to the hours of service rule….
12/22/2010 – U.S. DOT Releases Latest “Faces of Distracted Driving” Video
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released the latest video in the Department of Transportation’s “Faces of Distracted Driving” series….
12/22/2010 – Trucking Groups Say Port Registries Violate Federal Law
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the New Jersey Motor Truck Association and the Port Drivers Federation 18 have filed a petition asking the Department of Transportation (DOT) for a determination that mandatory drayage truck registries conducted by various ports and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are pre-empted by federal law….
12/20/2010 – PacLease to Host Webinar on Lease Accounting Changes for Private Fleet Operators
PacLease will hold a webinar on Jan. 6, 2011, to discuss proposed new lease accounting standards that will be finalized later in the year. The webinar is geared for private fleet operators….
12/20/2010 – Hours Proposal Cleared by OMB
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours of service proposal was cleared by the Office of Management and Budget on Friday, which means that it is on track to be published before the end of the year as the agency expects….
12/20/2010 – FMCSA Proposes Middle Approach to Cell Phone Restriction
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has chosen the middle path in its proposal to restrict cell phone use by commercial drivers.
The proposal essentially says that truck and bus drivers could only use a hands-free phone while driving. It would prohibit a driver from reaching for, dialing or holding a mobile phone while the truck is moving….
12/20/2010 – Heavy Trucks Forced back onto Maine State Highways
As of midnight Friday Dec. 17, the legal limit weight limit on I-295, I-395 and portions of I-95 dropped back to 80,000 pounds following the failure of the Senate to pass the $1.1 trillion 2011 omnibus budget bill….
12/17/2010 – DOT Proposes Rule to Ban Hand-Held Cell Phone Use for Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers
The U.S. Department of Transportation today proposed a new safety regulation that would specifically prohibit interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating a commercial motor vehicle….
12/17/2010 – LA Harbor Commission Closes Clean Truck Class-7 Loophole
The Los Angeles Harbor Commission voted Thursday to include Class 7 trucks in the same emissions rules that already apply to Class 8 trucks….
12/15/2010 – Senators Keep Heavy-Truck Pilot Alive, for Now
Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have put language into pending legislation that would permit a one-year extension of the pilot program that exempts federal highways in Maine and Vermont from the 80,000-pound truck weight limit. …
12/14/2010 – Slowdown at CSA Website Caused by Data Download
If you tried to log on to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA website yesterday and found it slow going, you were not alone.
Access to the web-based system was occasionally jammed as commercial interests tapped into the site and started downloading the entire database, an agency official said….
12/13/2010 – FMCSA Opens CSA Data to Public Following Court’s Denial of Suit
The next stage of the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s CSA 2010 safety program went live over the weekend, after a federal appeals court denied a suit by several groups of small trucking companies to prevent release of CSA safety data….
12/13/2010 – House Drops Truck Pilot in Maine, Vermont; Senate to Consider
The House passed a 9-month extension of the current federal highway program that would halt the heavy-truck pilot program in Maine and Vermont….
12/10/2010 – Mica Selected Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
To hardly anyone’s surprise, U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.) has been confirmed by vote of the House Republican Conference to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the 112th Congress….
12/9/2010 – Canadian Carriers Looking to Extended Tractor and Combo Lengths
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is proposing changes to Canada’s vehicle length rules to accommodate longer tractor wheelbases and longer over-all lengths for B-train combinations….
12/8/2010 – Court Ruling Pending in Suit to Stop Opening of CSA 2010 Data
The suit by several groups of small trucking companies against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new safety program, CSA 2010, has gone through the argument phase and is approaching a decision by the court….
12/7/2010 – FMCSA Appoints Three New Members to Medical Review Board
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has appointed three new medical experts to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board….
12/7/2010 – HOS Proposal Taking Longer than Expected at OMB
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours of service proposal is taking longer than expected….
12/6/2010 – Supporters of Higher Truck Weights Hope that Now is Their Time
Trucking and shipping interests are hoping the time is right for them to win long-sought relief from the 80,000-pound federal restriction on truck weights.
The restriction has resisted trucking’s best efforts for years, mainly due to opposition from the railroads and safety advocates but also because the trucking industry itself has been of two minds on the issue — some carriers want to run heavier loads, some don’t want the expense of the new equipment….
12/3/2010 – FMCSA Toughens Up Requirements for HHG Brokers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted a petition by the American Moving Storage Association to require interstate household goods brokers to comply with a number of rules and consumer requirements already required for household goods carriers….
12/3/2010 – Enforcement Community Applauds CSA 2010
Government and law enforcement agencies at the state and local levels are continuing to be fiscally challenged with respect to resources being made available for highway safety activities. The public – and rightly so – has an expectation that a basic responsibility of government is to keep our citizens traveling the roadways safe and secure. The challenge unfortunately is all too often public safety is one of the first areas of government to be cut …
12/2/2010 – ATA Rings Alarm Bell on Pending Hours of Service Proposal
American Trucking Associations is alarmed about proposed changes in hours of service regulations it sees coming from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and today will launch a website to coordinate an industry response….
12/2/2010 – ATA Calls for Changes to CSA 2010 Severity Weights
As part of its ongoing effort to improve CSA 2010, ATA submitted a comprehensive letter to FMCSA, Nov. 29, suggesting additional changes to the Agency’s evolving program….
12/1/2010 – Fuel Economy, Emissions Proposal Ready for Comment
The docket is now open for comments on the federal proposal to establish national standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for medium and heavy trucks….
12/1/2010 – DERA Reauthorization Makes Progress in Senate
The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010, introduced Nov. 18, was passed out of committee Tuesday by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee….
11/30/2010 – Inspector General to Look Into FMCSA’s Handling of New Entrants
The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General is initiating an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s response to National Transportation Safety Board recommendations to improve the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program….
11/30/2010 – Carrier Groups Sue to Halt CSA 2010 Safety Data Publication
Several groups of small trucking companies have sued to prevent publication of carriers’ safety performance data under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new CSA 2010 program….
11/29/2010 – Alberta’s Distracted Driving Bill Leaves CB Radios Turned On
Truckers in the province of Alberta are breathing a sigh of relief. It turns out the government is not planning to take away their CB radios after all….