EPA Wants to Reduce Heavy Trucks’ Smog Emissions, but 34 Republican Senators Say the New Regulations Can Do More Harm than Good
By Yehudit Garmaise
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to update rules that would drastically cut the significant smog and soot that heavy trucks emit, but, 34 Republican senators said today that the new regulations would only spike truck costs for small business owners.
Critics of the EPA also claim that the difficulty and expense of the new rules will only incentivize drivers to stick with older trucks that continue to create more air pollution.
The new EPA rules seek to tighten yearly emissions limits of heavy-duty vehicles, which contribute 23% of the dangerous greenhouse gas emissions that can cause respiratory diseases, extreme weather, food supply disruptions, and increased wildfires, according to nationalgeographic.com.
The rules toughen test procedures, regulatory useful life requirements, and emission-related warranties.
The EPA’s new standards for heavy-duty truck emissions are 80% more stringent than current standards, which have not been revised in more than 20 years, Reuters reported.
Set to take effect on March 27, the EPA says that by 2045, the new rules will result annually in up to 2,900 fewer premature deaths, 1.1. million fewer lost school days for children, and $29 billion in net benefits.
"It's really important, especially for protecting the health of the 72 million people living near truck freight routes in America," EPA Administrator Michael Regan told Reuters in December about the rule that would reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 48% in the next 22 years.
The EPA’s new measures, however, are not only hard to implement, but they would increase already-high supply chain costs, the Republican senators point out.
Plus, when small business truckers who cannot afford the new, compliant trucks would stick with older, less efficient trucks or exit the industry entirely, claimed Todd Spencer, the president of Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Sen Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who is leading the effort to repeal the rule, said the "aggressive" EPA rule would incentivize "operators to keep using older, higher-emitting trucks for longer."
Under the Congressional Review Act, a simple majority vote in both chambers of Congress can reverse recently finalized rules.
While Democrats hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, 222 Republicans narrowly control the House of Representatives, which currently has 213 Democrats.
photo credit: Flickr