Motor and Equipment Mfrs. Ass'n, Inc. v. E.P.A., Nos. 78-1896

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtBefore WRIGHT, Chief Judge, and MacKINNON and ROBB; Opinion for the Court filed by MacKINNON; MacKINNON
Citation201 U.S.App.D.C. 109,627 F.2d 1095
Decision Date17 September 1979
Docket NumberNos. 78-1896,78-1901,78-1943 and 78-1944,78-1931
Parties, 201 U.S.App.D.C. 109, 9 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,581 The MOTOR AND EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner, v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY and Douglas Costle, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, Respondents, Automobile Importers of America and State of California, Intervenors. AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE INDUSTRY et al., Petitioners, v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Respondent, State of California and Automobile Importers of America, Intervenors. MOTOR VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION OF the UNITED STATES, INC., Petitioner, v. Douglas M. COSTLE, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Protection Agency, Respondents, State of California and Automobile Importers of America, Intervenors. CHRYSLER CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Respondent, State of California and Automobile Importers of America, Intervenors. GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY and Douglas M. Costle, Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Respondents, State of California and Automobile Importers of America, Intervenors.

Page 1095

627 F.2d 1095
13 ERC 1737, 201 U.S.App.D.C. 109, 9
Envtl. L. Rep. 20,581
The MOTOR AND EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION, INC., Petitioner,
v.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY and Douglas Costle,
Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, Respondents,
Automobile Importers of America and State of California,
Intervenors.
AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE INDUSTRY et al., Petitioners,
v.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Respondent,
State of California and Automobile Importers of America,
Intervenors.
MOTOR VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION OF the UNITED
STATES, INC., Petitioner,
v.
Douglas M. COSTLE, Administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency Environmental Protection Agency,
Respondents,
State of California and Automobile Importers of America,
Intervenors.
CHRYSLER CORPORATION, Petitioner,
v.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Respondent,
State of California and Automobile Importers of America,
Intervenors.
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY and Douglas M.
Costle, Administrator of the United States
Environmental Protection Agency, Respondents,
State of California and Automobile Importers of America, Intervenors.
Nos. 78-1896, 78-1901, 78-1931, 78-1943 and 78-1944.
United States Court of Appeals,
District of Columbia Circuit.
Argued March 26, 1979.
Decided Aug. 3, 1979.
As Amended Aug. 7, 1979.
Rehearing Denied Sept. 17, 1979.

Page 1100

Petitions for Review of Orders of the Environmental Protection agency.

John H. Pickering, Washington, D. C., with whom Timothy N. Black, Washington, D. C., and Charles H. Lockwood, Detroit, Mich., were on the brief, for petitioner in No. 78-1931.

William T. Coleman, Jr., Washington, D. C., with whom Richard C. Warmer, Donald T. Bliss, Jr., Washington, D. C., and William L. Weber, Jr., Detroit, Mich., were on the brief, for petitioner in No. 78-1944.

Mark R. Joelson, Washington, D. C., with whom Marc L. Fleischaker and Lawrence P. Postol, Washington, D. C., were on the brief, for petitioner in No. 78-1896.

James F. Flanagan, Chicago, Ill., with whom Harold T. Halfpenny, Chicago, Ill., was on the brief, for petitioner in No. 78-1901.

Victor C. Tomlinson, Detroit, Mich., was on the brief, for petitioner in No. 78-1943.

James McNab, III, Atty., E. P. A., Washington, D. C., a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of Cal., pro hac vice, by special leave of court, Bruce I. Bertelsen, Atty., E. P. A., Washington, D. C., a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of Mich., pro hac vice, by special leave of court, and David E. Dearing, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., with whom Sanford Sagalkin, Acting Asst. Atty. Gen., Joan Z. Bernstein, Gen. Counsel, and Gerald K. Gleason, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., were on the brief, for respondent. James Moorman and Lloyd S. Guerci, Attys., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., also entered appearances for respondents.

Joel S. Moskowitz, Deputy Atty. Gen. of the State of Cal., Sacramento, Cal., for intervenor State of Cal.

Milton D. Andrews, Donald M. Schwentker and Lance E. Tunnick, Washington, D. C., were on the brief for intervenor Automobile Importers of America, Inc.

Before WRIGHT, Chief Judge, and MacKINNON and ROBB, Circuit Judges.

Opinion for the Court filed by MacKINNON, Circuit Judge.

MacKINNON, Circuit Judge:

Section 209 of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7543 (Supp. I 1977), requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to waive federal preemption of motor vehicle emission control regulations for the State of California unless he makes certain findings that a waiver is inappropriate. 1 In July 1978 the Administrator waived federal preemption for California

Page 1101

regulations limiting the amount of maintenance that a manufacturer can require of motor vehicle purchasers in the written instructions which accompany new motor vehicles sold in that State. The issue in these cases 2 is whether the Administrator's decision to do so was arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with law. We answer that question in the negative, and we accordingly deny the petition to set aside the Administrator's order. 3
I
BACKGROUND

The federal program for the control of motor vehicle emissions is the product of the Clean Air Act as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq. (Supp. I 1977). 4 Section 202 of this statute establishes nationwide motor vehicle emission standards applicable to certain model years for three major pollutants, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen. Id. § 7521(b). It also sets long-term goals for the control of emissions, and authorizes the EPA Administrator to prescribe standards consistent with those goals for model years not covered by the statute. Id. § 7521(a). These regulations can take effect at such time as the Administrator finds them to be technologically feasible, giving appropriate consideration to the costs of compliance. Id.

Page 1102

Section 206 requires the Administrator to test or to have tested any new motor vehicle or new motor vehicle engine submitted by a manufacturer to determine whether the vehicle or engine conforms to the standards contained in section 202 and in the regulations promulgated under it. Id. § 7525(a). 5 This "certification process" consists of various procedures which enable a manufacturer to demonstrate by use of a prototype that it has designed a class of motor vehicle which complies with the standards. One feature of this certification process is a durability test to determine the effects of deterioration on the functioning of the emission control system. 6 The Administrator limits by regulation the amount of "scheduled maintenance" that can be performed on the prototype vehicle during this durability test. 7

If the Administrator finds that the new motor vehicle will meet the applicable emissions standards he issues a certificate of conformity to cover the class of motor vehicles represented by the prototype. Id. at § 7525(a). This certificate is a condition precedent to the initial retail sale of new motor vehicles. 8

Section 207 imposes two types of warranty obligations on manufacturers which are directly related to the standards issued in section 202. First it requires manufacturers to warrant to purchasers that each new motor vehicle is designed, built, and equipped to conform to the section 202 standards, and further to warrant that each is free of defects in materials and workmanship which cause a motor vehicle to fail to conform to the standards for their useful life. Id. § 7541(a). 9 This is the defect warranty. Second, it provides that the Administrator shall impose a "performance warranty" on manufacturers whereby manufacturers will bear the costs of remedying any nonconformity with section 202 emission standards on vehicles maintained in accordance with the written maintenance instructions required by the statute. Id. § 7541(b). 10 The written maintenance instructions,

Page 1103

which manufacturers must furnish with each new motor vehicle, must conform to regulations promulgated by the Administrator. Id. § 7541(c)(3). If the purchaser fails to comply with the written instructions it relieves the manufacturer of his performance warranty obligations. 11

By virtue of the unique status it enjoys under section 209 of the Clean Air Act, California has an emissions control program that parallels the federal program in many respects. This litigation grew out of a decision made by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which is California's version of the federal EPA in the area of emissions control regulations. In May 1977, the CARB adopted regulations limiting the amount of scheduled maintenance that can be performed on the prototype used in the durability testing during California's certification process. 12 No party in this court challenges the application of these maintenance restrictions to the certification process. Rather the object of challenge is the CARB's simultaneous decision to limit the maintenance a manufacturer can require of purchasers in the written instructions manufacturers must furnish with each new motor vehicle. Under these "in-use maintenance regulations," a manufacturer cannot require a purchaser to perform maintenance beyond that which a manufacturer can perform during the certification process. 13 The furnishing of written instructions which abide by the in-use maintenance regulations is a condition precedent to the initial retail sale of new motor vehicles in California. The regulations also define the manufacturers' warranty obligations.

Foreshadowing the CARB's decision to adopt the regulations was a series of public hearings and workshops the CARB held to discuss proposed regulations limiting certification and in-use maintenance. At the first of these meetings, held in November 1976, the major topic was a CARB staff report which stated that "(d)ata available from emissions testing of in-use vehicles show that the degree of emission control which was demonstrated during the certification program is not being realized." 14 The staff contended that one of the reasons the emissions systems on in-use vehicles were not controlling emissions as they had during certification was improper maintenance on emission-related parts. The staff suggested that by lowering the amount of maintenance that needed to be done on in-use vehicles, the CARB could reduce the risks of improper maintenance and encourage the production of more durable emission-related parts.

This staff report contained recommendations on the amount of maintenance that ought to be allowed, but owing to objections by manufacturers the CARB deferred any decision on the proposals. Over the

Page 1104

next six months, the CARB staff studied the problem further, concentrating particularly on the questions raised by manufacturers about the technological feasibility of limiting maintenance on various parts. 15 The final recommendations the staff...

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    ...a prospect which threatened to create nightmares for the manufacturers.’ " Id. (quoting Motor & Equip. Mfrs. Ass’n, Inc. v. EPA , 627 F.2d 1095, 1109 (D.C. Cir. 1979) ).6 Ammex does not claim in its complaint that the duty-free gasoline it sells is not within the intended scope of the Summe......
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  • Ammex, Inc. v. Wenk, No. 18-1677
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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • 21 Agosto 2019
    ...a prospect which threatened to create nightmares for the manufacturers.’ " Id. (quoting Motor & Equip. Mfrs. Ass’n, Inc. v. EPA , 627 F.2d 1095, 1109 (D.C. Cir. 1979) ).6 Ammex does not claim in its complaint that the duty-free gasoline it sells is not within the intended scope of the Summe......
  • In re Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep Ecodiesel Mktg., Case No. 17–md–02777–EMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • 15 Marzo 2018
    ...to identical questions." H. R. Rep. No. 728, 90th Cong., 1st Sess., 22 (1967); cf. Motor & Equip. Mfrs. Ass'n v. Envtl. Prot. Agency , 627 F.2d 1095, 1109 (D.C. Cir. 1979) (noting that "[t]he debate [over including an express preemption provision] sharpened the differences between the state......
  • Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization v. Federal Labor Relations Authority, No. 81-2135
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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • 11 Junio 1982
    ...Ginsberg & Sons v. Popkin, 285 U.S. 204, 208, 52 S.Ct. 322, 323, 76 L.Ed. 521 (1932); Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association v. EPA, 627 F.2d 1095, 1107-08 (D.C.Cir.1979), cert. denied, 446 U.S. 952, 100 S.Ct. 2917, 64 L.Ed.2d 808 (1980). We, too, are loathe to embrace such a construct......
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