Court Sides with Sierra Club and Clean Air, Requiring Warehouse Pollution Cuts in Southern California

Ruling Secures Health Protections for Millions of Residents

LOS ANGELES — A federal district court judge denied an effort by the trucking and airline industry to derail a regulation on Friday requiring warehouses across the Los Angeles region, including the Inland Empire, to clean up pollution stemming from these facilities. The decision delivers a major legal victory for clean air advocates.

The Warehouse Indirect Source Rule, passed in 2021 by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), mandates approximately 3,000 facilities cut pollution by adopting electric trucks and equipment. A trucking lobbying group sued to block the rule, but SCAQMD prevailed in court.

Several entities intervened on behalf of SCAQMD in the lawsuit, including the State of California — represented by Attorney General Rob Bonta — in addition to several environmental justice and environmental NGOs including Sierra Club and the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice, and East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Communities for a Better Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund. 

“This ruling secures vital health protections for over 17 million Californians breathing dirty air, and represents the culmination of years of tireless organizing by Sierra Club and our environmental justice partners,” said Yassi Kavezade, Field Manager with the Sierra Club. “Warehouses can no longer pollute with impunity, poisoning our most vulnerable communities.”

The South Coast AQMD is responsible for improving air quality across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The region has some of the nation’s worst smog, largely driven by warehouses and trucking emitting lung-damaging soot.

“We breathe some of the most polluted air in the nation, which is driven by the massive and ever-expanding warehouse operations near our schools and up against our backyards,” said Andrea Vidaurre, senior policy analyst with the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice. “The Indirect Source Rule is essential for protecting our community’s health, so we’re grateful to see environmental protections prevail over polluters with this decision.” 

“In the face of a mega warehouse boom in California so large you can actually see it from space, it is critical that our air quality regulators rein in goods movement pollution,” said Adrian Martinez, deputy managing attorney on Earthjustice’s Right To Zero campaign. “The Indirect Source Rule is proving to be a strong model that communities from coast to coast should consider adopting to bring in zero emissions equipment and clean their air. We’re grateful to see it stand up in court.” ” 

The judgment means warehouses will continue to be subject to the rule, which requires they reduce emissions by choosing from a menu of 30 items ranging from installation of solar panels to installing electric truck chargers to using electric yard trucks at their facilities. Sierra Club is urging rapid state-level action to support infrastructure and funding needed for warehouses to fully adopt zero-emission technologies.

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit