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[UPDATED: 4:22 p.m. PDT June 15 w/ vehicle specifics]
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — California operators are gathering support for a potential legal battle against strict green rules at the San Diego International Airport (SAN) that would essentially render every large luxury black vehicle now in use as environmentally unacceptable.
Livery vehicles older than seven years would no longer be permitted while younger standard limousine vehicles would be fined if they are not converted to alternative fuels. The combined effect of these policies could put many chauffeured transportation companies out of business.
Negotiations on the policies, which take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, have mostly failed, and the Greater California Livery Association is asking members to support a legal fund. The GCLA leadership believes the situation has reached the point where chauffeured transportation companies have no option but to fight back.
Legal counsel for the GCLA has reviewed the San Diego policy and believes that the GCLA has solid legal ground to fight its implementation. The proposed policy is preempted by federal law, and therefore would be unenforceable if challenged in court, the GCLA maintains.
Green power grab
The overriding issue is the fact that SAN and the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) are proposing stringent green policies that discriminate against chauffeured transportation companies. For the past two years, both airports have attempted to implement environmental emission standards that are higher than the standards imposed by the state of California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and California Air Resources Board (CARB). California also does not have adequate fueling infrastructure for propane, natural gas, electric, and hydrogen.
The San Diego Airport Authority at first adopted its set of emissions policies in March 2010, suspended them in November 2010, and reinstated them last month. If the authority succeeds with full implementation, it could further encourage similar efforts at SFO and possibly influence governing authorities at other major airports nationwide.