House votes to repeal EPA's heavy truck emissions rules; Biden expected to issue veto

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is expected to veto a move by Congress to rescind strict new Environmental Protection Agency rules aimed at big rigs.

The House approved a measure on Tuesday, May 23, that would cancel a part of the EPA’s Clean Trucks Plan that went into effect in March.

The Senate voted to overturn the rule in April, so it will now be sent to Biden’s desk. The White House has said the president will veto it.

A veto override would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

Texas Republican Rep. Troy E. Nehls, who introduced the resolution, called the EPA’s rule on buttoning up large commercial truck emissions “yet another example of burdensome federal regulation and would unfairly target the trucking industry and pass costs for the American consumer and small businesses, all in the name of the Biden Administration’s woke climate change agenda.”

At the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), President and CEO Todd Spencer said that “Truckers care about clean air as much as anyone else but are also on the front lines of the supply chain with over 70% of America’s freight relying exclusively on trucking. Mandating equipment that has historically led to major engine reliability issues under an unrealistic timeline will have devastating effects on the reliability of America’s supply chain and ultimately on the cost and availability of consumer goods.”

The EPA finalized its rule on new emissions standards for heavy duty vehicles on Dec. 20, 2022, which is part of the overall Clean Trucks Plan.

The rule’s new standards cover nitrogen oxides and other air pollutants, including particulate matter, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. The rule would also change requirements regarding emission control systems and emission-related warranties.

Addressing the Arkansas Trucking Association on May 17, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said the trucking industry needs to speak out against the new EPA rules.

Spear contends the trucking industry has already made great strides in helping to reduce emissions on diesel engines.

“For 40 years, we have worked hand-in-glove with the SmartWay program with the EPA,” Spear said. “We have recognized carriers that have kept up with the latest environmentally friendly equipment.”

Spear added that the industry has “been through the process to ensure equipment on the market can withstand the pressures that drivers put them though and still deliver reductions for the environment.” The ATA, he said, is “all in favor of clean air and water. That is not debatable. But in four decades, we have worked to pull 98.5% of harmful emissions out of the tailpipes of trucks you buy on the lots today.”

It would take 60 modern Class 8 trucks, he said, to match the emissions produced by a single rig back in 1988.

The EPA estimated the technology required to meet the new rule’s standards will cost between $2,568 and $8,304 per vehicle. The American Truck Dealers Association estimates it is more likely a $42,000 increase per truck. In total, the EPA projects the associated costs of this new regulation on the country could reach $55 billion over the lifetime of the program.

“The EPA’s regulation would be challenging to implement and make new, compliant trucks cost-prohibitive,” according to OOIDA. “By increasing the cost of a new truck, the regulation actually incentivizes keeping older, higher-emitting trucks in service longer. It would also likely force many ‘mom and pop’ commercial trucking operations out of business while encouraging larger trucking operations to pass these higher costs onto consumers.”

OOIDA also stated that “adding new financial burdens on the trucking industry would increase the cost of any product transported by trucks, including food, clothing, and other commodities.”

The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.


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