Friday, February 29, 2008

Pacific Merchant Shipping Association v. Goldstene

Feb 27: In the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Case No. 07-16695. On January 1, 2007, the California Air Resources Board (i.e. Goldstene) began enforcing state regulations, the “Marine Vessel Rules,” limiting emissions from the auxiliary diesel engines of ocean-going vessels within twenty-four miles of California’s coast. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, a group of companies that own or operate ocean-going vessels subject to the regulations, filed suit to enjoin their enforcement. Pacific Merchant argues that the Rules are preempted by the Clean Air Act and the Submerged Lands Act. The Appeals Court affirmed the district court’s ruling that the Marine Vessel Rules are preempted by the Clean Air Act and reinstated that court’s injunction against enforcement of the Marine Vessel Rules.

The Ninth Circuit said, "In the end, Clean Air Act § 209(e)(2) preempts the Marine Vessel Rules and requires California to obtain EPA authorization prior to enforcement because the Rules are 'emissions standards' that require that engines 'not emit more than a certain amount of a given pollutant.' SCAQMD, 541 U.S. at 253. Because the Clean Air Act preempts here, we, like the district court, find it unnecessary to decide whether the Submerged Lands Act also preempts the state rules at issue. We vacate the stay of the district court’s injunction previously imposed by our motions panel effective upon issuance of the mandate."

Access the complete opinion (
click here).