March 25, 2021 11:45 AM, EDT

Coalition Asks Biden Administration to Reduce Truck Emissions by Fall 2022

truck exhaust pipeChmiel/Getty Images

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A wide-ranging coalition of business, science and environmental groups is calling on the Biden administration to within the next 18 months set “multi-pollutant climate and clean air standards” that will eliminate particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions from new freight trucks and buses.

“We urge your administration to adopt pollution standards by fall of 2022, eliminate the smog-forming nitrogen oxides, deadly particles and climate pollution from freight trucks and buses that are based upon, and fully mobilize, the availability of zero-emitting solutions,” said a letter to President Joe Biden, dated March 23.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists, Interfaith Power & Light, League of Conservation Voters, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and the California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy were among the 17 groups signing onto the letter.

Coalition Clean Air Letter by Transport Topics

Copies of the letter also were sent to a range of top Environmental Protection Agency officials, including recently confirmed EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

Truck pollution standards should eliminate pollution from all new freight trucks and buses no later than 2040, and from freight trucks and buses used in urban and community areas no later than 2035, the letter said.

A recent analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund showed that pollution standards that achieve the groups’ goals would prevent 57,000 premature deaths and eliminate more than 4.7 billion metric tons of climate pollution by 2050, according to the letter.

“Pollution from freight trucks and buses is concentrated in low-income communities and communities of color,” the letter said. It said “protective standards are essential in order to address that disproportionate impact.”

“What we’re trying to get across is that we want to ensure that the Biden administration gets a multi-pollutant standard that will get us on a trajectory of electrifying trucks,” Katherine Garcia, deputy director for national policy for the Sierra Club, told Transport Topics. “We’re seeing a number of states that are working to adopt an advanced clean trucks rule. I think that is really sending a signal to the Biden administration that it needs to act on cleaning up trucks.”

Added Glen Kedzie, energy and environmental affairs counsel for American Trucking Associations: “The trucking industry is extremely proud of the historical progress we have made over the past two decades in reducing our nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emission footprints to near-zero levels on all new trucks entering the marketplace. In addition, we worked closely with both the EPA and The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in finalizing first-ever fuel consumption and greenhouse gas standards for new trucks, engines and trailers which took effect beginning in 2014 with progressive and stringent implementation milestones through 2027.

“Trucking considers environmental stewardship as one of our top priorities,” Kedzie continued. “As such, ATA will continue to work with the federal government and states to ensure that the next generation of clean technology vehicles on the horizon will be commercially available for all diversified trucking applications, economically affordable, thoroughly tested, and not impair the movement of our nation’s goods.”

Peter Zalzal, senior counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, told TT, “We see a real opportunity with the increasing availability of zero-emitting solutions in the medium- and heavy-duty space right now. And we see even more on the horizon that are capable of reducing a full suite of pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. We think standards should fully leverage that.”

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