“Diesel Brothers” Clean Air Act Lawsuit Threatens to Greatly Expand Standing Under Citizen Suits

Truck Pollution

A Federal District Court in Utah ruled that a group of physicians had standing to sue the host of a popular television show, “Diesel Brothers,” for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act resulting from modifications to pollution control devices installed on trucks.  At issue on appeal, is whether the Utah physicians for a healthy environment (UPHE”) group can allege a justiciable harm and demonstrate “redressability and causation” both of which are required elements to establish standing.  The Diesel Brothers argue on appeal that the UPHE cannot demonstrate that they were injured by the excess emissions caused by the vehicle modification done as part of the TV show.  In their Brief, the Diesel Brothers argue that it is impossible to conclude that the Defendants’ violations meaningfully contributed to excess air pollution that can be traced to a particular harm suffered by members of the UPHE.  Further, they allege that establishing such a low threshold for “injury in fact” would effectively open citizen suits up to individuals or groups whose alleged injury has a tenuous link to the actual underlying violation.  The suit is also noteworthy because it is thought to be the first successful Air Act citizen suit to target mobile source emissions, rather than stationary sources such as a power plant or a factory.

For more information please contact Phillip Hoover.

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