Ruling Upholds Federal Clean Air Act Standards

Washington -- In an 8-to-1 vote on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that local districts cannot create legislation countering federal Clean Air Act standards. According to the Engine Manufacturers Association and the Western States Petroleum Association, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Diamond Bar, Calif., had prohibited vehicles with engines that are in compliance with federal regulations. The district explained that it had restricted the types of engines fleet operators can put in new vehicles beyond what the Clean Air Act specifies because the district was trying to combat smog in the highly polluted area. All but one Supreme Court justice agreed, however, that if the Los Angeles-area district were allowed to qualify regulations based on local smog conditions, then any state or local district could do the same, thus nullifying the Clean Air Act.

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