Forthcoming California Phase 2 GHG Emission Regulations Foreshadow Compliance Challenges

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Last August, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finalized the more stringent “Phase 2” greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles.  As discussed at a CARB hearing on February 6, California will propose its own Phase 2 GHG emission standards this summer, and is predicted to release the proposed rule for public comment in September.  California’s rules are expected to differ from and go beyond the EPA Phase 2 rules.  They will move forward despite the status of the EPA Phase 2 rules under the Trump administration and the pending litigation from trailer manufacturers, which may be a potential means to amend or rescind the current rules.

California rules may take effect after EPA Phase 2 rules, which apply beginning with model year 2018 trailers.  Other differences include: a California-specific certification review of vehicles, rather than “deemed to comply” conclusions based on EPA’s reviews; varying credit provisions for use of low-global warming potential refrigerants and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; additional labeling requirements; and more robust certification requirements. Such differences may pose challenges for manufacturers, and require advance planning and robust compliance strategies.  Industry should monitor this rulemaking carefully, participate in the next CARB workshop (planned for this spring), and comment on the proposed rules.

For more information about the Phase 2 standards and compliance challenges that companies might face, please contact Bruce PasfieldElise PaeffgenMaureen GorsenMeaghan Boyd or any of the other members of our Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources practice team.