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April 20, 2018 3:45 PM, EDT

Several Members of Congress Send Letters Asking EPA to Drop Proposal to Repeal Glider Kit Regulation

Glider John Sommers II for Transport Topics

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have written three letters to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt asking him to reconsider his proposal to repeal an Obama administration regulation that would limit the number of glider kits manufactured each year.

The glider kits provision, included in EPA’s 2016 Phase 2 heavy-truck greenhouse gas emissions rule, limits the number of nonemissions-compliant gliders built by each company to 300 a year and requires gliders beyond that number to be certified as emissions-compliant for the model year they are built.

Two of the letters to Pruitt argued that repealing the glider regulation would be bad for the economy.

Pruitt

A letter dated March 16 and signed by four Republican U.S. senators, including Richard Burr of North Carolina, said a repeal of the glider requirements would “undermine the significant investments made by domestic manufacturers and the logistics industry.”

The senators said their view is shared by numerous stakeholders, medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturers, and engine and emission control technology makers.

“We urge you to consider the adverse impact on the economy if the authority to implement reasonable regulation of gliders is repealed and the regulatory certainty maintained through prior administrations is removed.”

A second letter, dated March 27 and signed by 10 House Republicans, noted that in addition to hurting the economy, a repeal of the rule would run the risk “that a court would impose requirements beyond what the previous administration negotiated with the industry, which could undermine the manufacturing and rebuilding industries resulting in the loss of countless jobs across the United States.”

The letter continued, “We have seen what happens when overreaching and even illegal regulations are issued that go against the intent of the Clean Air Act.”

Still, the signers “respectfully asked” that the agency “consider the negative impacts if the authority to implement reasonable regulation of gliders is now repealed.”

Among co-signers of that letter were two members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Reps. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.).

A third letter was dated March 12 and signed by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

“Glider trucks, also known as ‘zombie trucks,’ look like new trucks on the outside — and are advertised and sold as new — but are equipped with old, high-polluting diesel engines on the inside,” the two Democrats wrote. “We urge you to withdraw this dangerous, legally questionable proposal immediately.”

The Carper-Udall letter said that internal EPA research showed that a 2017 glider truck can emit up to 450 times the particulate matter pollution, and up to 43 times the nitrous oxide pollution of model year 2014 and 2015 trucks.

The letter also said that glider trucks used to be a niche industry, with fewer than 1,000 vehicles produced each year — primarily for engine-salvage purposes when relatively new trucks got in collisions.

However, by 2015, “significantly over 10,000” glider vehicles were being sold, the letter said.