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A Message from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association



American Road & Transportation Builders Association
Transportation Development Legal Advocacy & Education Center
The ARTBA Building ● 1219 28th Street, N.W.  ● Washington, D.C. 20007 ● 202-289-4434

See also: Federal Court to Hear ARTBA vs. EPA Lawsuit Nov. 9th ― How could your business be affected?

                                                                                               November 2009

How would you feel if tomorrow a government official called and told you that you could no longer bid on transportation projects if you planned on using your existing fleet of diesel construction equipment?  What would that do to the value of your fleet?  What would that do to your ability to get bonding? What would that do to your business?

Never happen?  I’ve got bad news for you… news you need to know about before it’s too late!

For the past 10 years, several environmental policy “bell weather” states have been trying to regulate the use of off-road diesel construction equipment-or mandate the use of “cleaner” construction equipment-as part of their emission-reduction programs.    It started in 2000, when the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission attempted to ban the use of heavy diesel equipment during morning hours in the summer months.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), supported by our state affiliate, the AGC of Texas, challenged that proposed work ban in federal court, citing the heavy construction equipment exemption under the federal Clean Air Act.  The Texas commission backed down.  But recognizing that other states might also try their approach, we followed up by formally requesting that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publicly uphold ARTBA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act.   Despite repeated requests from ARTBA, the agency has, thus far, declined to take this action.

That wasn’t too important until recently.  But now the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has passed regulations similar to those proposed in Texas.  That is a big deal, because - unlike in Las Vegas - what happens in California usually doesn’t stay in California.

Under the Clean Air Act, with the EPA’s approval, California-through CARB-can set its own emissions control standards and regulations.  When it does, the other 49 states have the option of adopting the always more stringent California standards or operating under the federal standards.  Many states often follow California’s lead.

Several weeks ago, ARTBA sued the EPA to make it enforce limits in the Clean Air Act that would prevent the CARB action from being implemented in the field.

If ARTBA didn’t take on the EPA now, we believe contractors would ultimately have to fight the spread of draconian, California-style off-road equipment use regulations in state courts across the nation-or face the consequences of them.  Our lawsuit ARTBA vs. EPA is a chance to avoid piecemeal - and endless - litigation.

Rather than wrestling with an octopus, we are going for the head!

If we win ARTBA vs. EPA, the value and useful life of your off-road diesel equipment fleet will be preserved… so will your flexibility to manage and use these capital assets.

I won’t beat around the bush.  We need your financial support for this litigation.  Please think about what you have at stake financially and contribute what you feel would be a fair investment in your future.  It’s our hope that every highway contractor can chip in.

Please make your check payable to the “ARTBA Transportation Development Legal Advocacy & Education Center” and use the enclosed response form.  While not deductible as a charitable contribution, your support of the Center and its litigation may qualify as a tax-deductible trade or business expense.   Please consult your firm’s tax advisor for guidance.

Thank you for your help with ARTBA vs. EPA.  It’s a fight contractors need to win!

Sincerely,

Nick Goldstein
Counsel
Transportation Development Legal Advocacy & Education Center

P.S.-If you would like to know more about this issue and litigation, you can access a 30-minute video interview with our litigating attorney, federal Clean Air Act specialist Larry Joseph, at http://www.artba.org/advocacy/legal/advocacy-and-education-center/ .  We need your financial support to keep Larry fighting for ARTBA’s contractors!