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California Clean Air Rule Upheld

Government agencies in Southern California can be forced to use cars, trucks and buses with cleaner emissions, a federal judge ruled. The ruling upheld a ban on diesel vehicles in public fleets imposed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The rules are aimed at cutting diesel exhaust, a major source of toxic air pollution and oxides of nitrogen that lead to asthma-inducing smog. Even the cleanest diesel systems produce more oxides of nitrogen than natural gas, Reuters reported.

In ruling against the Engine Manufacturers Association and the Western States Petroleum Association (WPMA), U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper said the Southern California regulations would regulate only government purchases, not what manufacturers can produce.

The ban was challenged by two groups claiming the rules violated the federal Clean Air Act, which generally prohibits state or local governments from imposing standards relating to controlling emissions from new vehicles, the report said.

Neither side has said if this ruling would affect private companies or consumers who use diesel fuel.

Under the agency's current rules, public entities with fleets of 15 or more vehicles must purchase alternative-fuel vehicles when expanding or making replacements to their fleets.
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