is certainly not fairly traceable to defendants' allegedly unlawful conduct.
Not only have plaintiffs failed to meet the Article III requirements of standing, but even assuming they could satisfy those requirements, their claims fail upon consideration of the prudential limits on federal court jurisdiction. As the Supreme Court explained in Warth, with respect to the prudential rules of standing the essential question is "whether the constitutional or statutory provisions on which the claim rests properly can be understood as granting persons in the plaintiff's position a right to judicial relief." Warth at 500, 95 S. Ct. at 2206. Defendants argue that § 177 does not entitle plaintiffs to the judicial relief which they seek. The court agrees.
Plaintiffs' complaint is based upon the Clean Air Act, specifically § 177. However, whether defendants violated § 177 is immaterial to the question of whether that statute grants plaintiffs the right to the relief sought in the complaint.
Insofar as it is relevant here, § 177 of the Clean Air Act permits a state such as New York to adopt motor vehicle emission standards only if (a) such standards are identical to California's standards for that model year, and (b) such standards are adopted two years prior to the commencement of the model year. The direct consequence to plaintiffs of the enforcement of the 1994 standards is the inability of plaintiffs' members to sell the less expensive federally certified vehicles for registration in New York. However, even assuming that defendants' conduct would cause harm to plaintiffs' members, they do not have any right under the Constitution or any statute to be free from such harm.
Plaintiffs' counsel argued that by preempting the field of motor vehicle emission regulation, see 42 U.S.C. § 7543 (§ 209 of the Act), Congress expressed its intention to protect interstate commerce from the burdens of inconsistent and overlapping state regulations. Therefore, plaintiffs argue, § 209 protects dealers, among others, from having to purchase and sell vehicles which are certified to different standards than those sold by dealers in neighboring states with whom they trade. Plaintiffs contend that in enacting § 177 Congress only created a limited exception to the preemptive force of § 209; and that if a state fails to comply with the narrow exception contained in § 177, then that state has violated the general preemptive provision of § 209 and invaded a legally protected interest.
Although § 209 was clearly intended to protect interstate commerce from the burdens of different state standards,
and assuming arguendo that when it was enacted § 209 protected plaintiffs from the sort of "injury" of which they now complain, § 177 was an amendment to the Clean Air Act and must be treated as such. In amending the Act in 1977, Congress determined that while different state standards may impose somewhat of a burden on interstate commerce, the protection of the environment was of comparable importance to the protection of interstate commerce.
Therefore, to balance these two important interests Congress enacted § 177.
In doing so, Congress decided to permit state regulation of motor vehicle emissions at the expense of somewhat of a burden on interstate commerce so long as the states provided the manufacturers with two years leadtime, and did not force manufacturers to produce vehicles different than they were producing for California.
There is no suggestion in the 1977 Amendments to the Clean Air Act, or any expression in the supporting legislative history, of Congressional concern that granting states the authority to adopt California's new motor vehicle emission standards would impose a burden on automobile dealers. Indeed, when Congress amended § 177 in 1990, it sought to "make plain that states exercising this option may not, in such adoption and enforcement, create a 'third vehicle' that is not a California vehicle or a 49-state Federal vehicle, because of the burden it would place on motor vehicle manufacturers." 136 Cong. Rec. S16895-1, S16939 (daily ed. October 27, 1990) (statement of Senators Chaffee and Baucus) [emphasis added]. Therefore, it is apparent that Congress' primary concern in restricting state authority under § 177 was to protect manufacturers from the burden of multiple state standards.
However, not only was Congress primarily concerned with motor vehicle manufacturers, but it implicitly accepted what plaintiffs now argue is a burden on interstate commerce. The harm for which plaintiffs' seek redress is the inherent consequence of Congress' passage of § 177. Indeed, plaintiffs' counsel conceded at oral argument that plaintiffs' members would suffer the same harm regardless of whether New York complied with the requirements of § 177 in adopting the 1994 standards. By permitting states like New York to adopt California's new vehicle emission standards, Congress implicitly accepted the consequences of that action which were that automobile dealers in such adopting states would be limited to selling California certified vehicles and consumers in such states would be limited to registering only those vehicles. Consequently, even assuming that Congress sought to protect automobile dealers' interests in selling federally certified vehicles by enacting § 209, by enacting § 177 Congress effectively sacrificed that interest in favor of the legitimate police powers of states. Therefore, the court concludes that the clean Air Act does not entitle plaintiffs' members to the judicial relief which they seek.
Having considered the papers submitted and the arguments of counsel, the court finds that plaintiffs' members have not satisfied the constitutional requirements of standing implicit in Article III. However, even assuming that plaintiffs' members could satisfy the requirements of Article III, neither § 209 nor § 177 of the clean Air Act can be read as granting plaintiffs' members a right to the judicial relief which they seek. Based upon this finding, it is hereby
ORDERED, that plaintiffs' motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 is denied in its entirety, and it is further
ORDERED, that defendants' motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) is granted in its entirety and that the complaint is dismissed. The clerk is directed to enter judgment accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated at Binghamton, New York
July 10, 1993
Thomas J. McAvoy,
Chief U.S. District Judge