SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court has upheld standards by California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District that allow air pollution authorities to create air-quality regulations based on technologies that don’t exist but may be “reasonably anticipated to exist by the compliance deadline.” The ruling is a result of a lawsuit filed by the American Coatings Association (ACA) against the South Coast Air Quality Management District over amendments to a district rule that regulates emissions of VOCs from architectural coatings.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the American Coatings Association challenged standards that limited pollution-causing substances in coatings, claiming that new rules imposed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District should be based on the best available technology.

In its ruling, the court concluded that, “the relevant statutes give the District the authority to promulgate pollution standards based on technologies that do not currently exist but are reasonably anticipated to exist by the compliance deadline.”

In a statement responding to the decision, the ACA stated, “For years the paint and coatings industry has continually worked with regulatory agencies in California, and strives to reformulate its products to reduce their environmental impact and ensure their safe and effective use in the face of increasingly stringent regulations. However, the South Coast and other air districts have been overly optimistic in predicting future technology that will allow for the high performance products that consumers and businesses expect and need.  The court’s ruling will now require paint and coatings manufacturers to reassess whether it is feasible to remain in the market in Southern California, since doing so could negatively affect their ability to produce high-quality, high-performing products. This decision will undoubtedly increase regulatory uncertainty for not only paint and coatings manufacturers, but other companies wishing to do business in the unstable California market.”

The ACA also stated that it will determine its course moving forward after a full analysis of the decision.