IN A VICTORY FOR THE NATION'S HOME builders, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Clean Air Act (CAA) provisions will make it easier for builders to operate residential construction equipment and other motor vehicles on residential building sites. The April ruling pre-empts state and local governments from setting their own standards to control emissions from new motor vehicles, including residential construction equipment.

“This will ensure that state and local governments trying to achieve new air-quality levels are not doing it on the backs of home builders,” said NAHB president Bobby Rayburn. “We now have the ammunition for builders and developers to beat back any overreaching regulations of new construction equipment like local governments in Texas tried to do just recently.”

The Supreme Court overturned a decision by California's Ninth Circuit in the case of Engine Manufacturer's Association v. South Coast Air Quality Management District, a lawsuit against regulations that would have required certain fleet owners in the Los Angeles area to purchase or lease alternative-fueled vehicles. Had the decision gone the other way, builders might have had to use different residential construction equipment and vehicles to conform to different localities' standards on air quality.

The high court's opinion was quite dismissive of the lower court's decision, noting that the lower court's interpretation of the Clean Air Act confused actual emission control standards with the means of enforcing standards. The high court wrote that other parts of the decision made “no sense.”

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.