A district court has ruled that federal law does not preempt an indirect source rule that targets emissions associated with warehouses in Southern California.

By Joshua Bledsoe, Nick Cox, and Jennifer Garlock

On December 14, 2023, a US federal judge rejected claims that federal law preempts the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD or the District) adoption of Rule 2305 (Rule), upholding the first-in-the-nation Rule[1] that regulates trucking emissions from warehouses.

Rule 2305 is the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule (ISR) — Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) Program. As described in this Latham blog post, the WAIRE Program applies to certain warehouses in the South Coast Air Basin and imposes a compliance obligation based on the number of truck visits to that warehouse per year. Warehouse operators can meet that obligation by taking any number of emissions-reducing actions, either from the “WAIRE Menu” or through a custom plan approved by the District.

Regulators are pursuing steep fines in response to widespread alleged noncompliance with an emissions rule still subject to potential reversal by the courts.

By Joshua T. Bledsoe, James Friedland, and Jennifer Garlock

Key Points:

  • The enforcement action alleges 1,400 warehouses are noncompliant.
  • Noncompliance can result in fines of up to $11,710 per day.
  • Litigation challenging this program remains pending, with no quick end in sight.

On September 20, 2023, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD or the District) announced an enforcement initiative for Rule 2305, also known as the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule (ISR), which is part of the Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions (WAIRE) Program. As described in this June 2021 blog post, the WAIRE Program applies to warehouses in the South Coast Air Basin over 100,000 square feet, with a phased implementation based on warehouse size. The ISR imposes a compliance obligation based on the number of truck visits to that warehouse per year, which warehouse operators can meet through emissions-reducing actions, either from the “WAIRE Menu” or through a custom plan approved by the District.