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OXYGENATED FUELS ASSOCIATION, INC. v. PATAKI
May 18, 2001
OXYGENATED FUELS ASSOCIATION, INC. PLAINTIFF,
GEORGE PATAKI, IN HIS CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, AND ELIOT SPITZER, IN HIS CAPACITY AS ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE STATE OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Norman A. Mordue, United States District Judge.
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff moves for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 in this
action under the Supremacy Clause, U.S. CONST., Art. VI, cl. 2, the Clean
Air Act, 42 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq., and the Civil Rights Act,
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The relief sought is authorized by
28 U.S.C. § 2201, 2202 and 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b). District Court
has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Plaintiff is a trade association, the members of which include major
producers of methyl tertiary-butyl ether ("MTBE"), an oxygenated fuel
additive ("oxygenate") used in motor vehicle fuel to improve combustion
for the purpose of reducing emissions pollution. Plaintiff challenges the
constitutionality of a New York law ("N.Y. MTBE Law") which bans the
use, sale, or importation in New York of fuels containing MTBE as of
January 1, 2004.
The stated purpose of CAA is "to protect and enhance the quality of the
Nation's air resources so as to promote the public health and welfare and
the productive capacity of its population." CAA § 101(b)(1),
42 U.S.C. § 7401(b)(1). In furtherance of this purpose, Congress
enacted the reformulated gasoline ("RFG") program in 1990, CAA §
211(k), 42 U.S.C. § 7545(k), to address ozone pollution in certain
areas which have failed to attain National Ambient Air Quality Standards
for ground-level ozone ("nonattainment" areas). The RFG program requires
the sale in nonattainment areas of RFG, i.e., gasoline to which
oxygenates such as MTBE or ethanol are added for the purpose of reducing
ozone-causing emissions. CAA § 211(k)(5).
The RFG legislation directs EPA to "promulgate regulations . . .
establishing requirements for reformulated gasoline to be used in
gasoline-fueled vehicles" in nonattainment areas, CAA § 211(k)(1),
and sets forth detailed requirements that EPA must include in its
regulations. CAA § 211(k)(2), (3). The statute empowers EPA to
determine which fuels may be sold in nonattainment areas and prohibits
the sale or dispensing of all other fuels in those areas. CAA §
211(k)(4), (5). EPA may prescribe sampling, testing and record-keeping
requirements and impose penalties, CAA § 211(d), (k)(5), and may
adjust or waive requirements of the program under certain circumstances.
CAA § (k)(2)(A), (B), (D). Section 211(c)(1) authorizes EPA to
control or prohibit the sale of any fuel or fuel additive if in its
judgment any emission product of that fuel or fuel additive causes or
contributes to air pollution which may endanger public health or
welfare. State regulation of any component or characteristic of a fuel
or fuel additive for purposes of emissions control is proscribed except
with EPA approval under narrowly defined circumstances. CAA §
1. For the purposes of this section, "gasoline"
shall mean any fuel sold for use in motor vehicles and
motor vehicle engines, and commonly or commercially
known or sold as gasoline.
2. No person shall import into, or sell, dispense or
offer for sale any gasoline which contains methyl
tertiary butyl ether.
3. Any person who violates the provisions of this
section shall be liable for a civil penalty of not
less than five hundred dollars nor more than ten
thousand dollars. New York also amended section
19-0301(3) of New York Environmental Conservation Law
(L. 2000, c. 35, § 2) to add a new subsection B,
which states: "No provision of this subdivision shall
be deemed to authorize the use of methyl tertiary
butyl ether as an oxygenate in any motor fuel imported
into, or sold or offered for sale in this State." The
amendments are effective January 1, 2004 (L. 2000, c.
35, § 3). The legislative history of the N.Y.
MTBE Law establishes that its purpose is to protect
New York's groundwater from contamination, and this is
not seriously contested by plaintiff.
Plaintiff moves for summary judgment awarding it all relief sought ...
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