GOP Senators Target EPA Heavy-Duty Truck Rule

Fischer speaks at a past hearing. (Mariam Zuhaib/Associated Press)

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Senior Republicans are proposing to overturn federal emissions standards targeting heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

A procedural move by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and her GOP colleagues in the chamber is part of ongoing efforts to undo aspects of the Biden administration’s rulemaking under the purview of the Environmental Protection Agency. The Republican measure’s consideration has yet to be scheduled in the chamber.

Fischer, along with Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), unveiled the procedural resolution this month which seeks to prevent progress on an EPA rule that goes into effect next month. The rule aims to reduce certain pollutants from commercial vehicles beginning in model year 2027.

“The Biden administration is saddling the trucking industry with an onerous regulation that would jack up vehicle costs and hurt good paying jobs,” Fischer said in a statement on Feb. 9. She is a member of the Commerce Committee on freight policy.

“This aggressive EPA rule — which will hit mom-and-pop truck operations the hardest — is also ineffective because it incentivizes operators to keep using older, higher-emitting trucks for longer,” she added. “During a period of high inflation and supply chain disruptions, the last thing this country needs is more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers.”

“Truckers support the backbone of our economy. Congress must stop President [Joe] Biden’s green-at-any-cost agenda before it crushes America’s trucking industry and magnifies supply chain problems. Louisiana families can’t afford more woke ‘help’ from the Biden administration,” added Kennedy.

Nearly three dozen Republican colleagues in the Senate have sponsored the measure. They point to existing regulations specific to the trucking industry that have led to a decrease in nitrogen oxide emissions.

“It is time to get government out of the way of hardworking Americans and job creators. The EPA’s woke new rule will only hurt the folks who run small businesses when they are forced into buying the newest and highly expensive ‘green’ trucks,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said. “This is a classic example of gross government overreach, and I am proud to stand with my colleagues to stop this unnecessary and harmful rule.” Sponsors include Republican Sens. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Mike Braun of Indiana, Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

Freight stakeholders also have endorsed the senators’ procedural action. In a statement that accompanied the measure, Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, argued: “If small business truckers can’t afford the new, compliant trucks, they’re going to stay with older, less efficient trucks, or leave the industry entirely. Once again, EPA has largely ignored the warnings and concerns raised by truckers in this latest rule.”

The rule, finalized in December, is scheduled to take effect March 27.

Michael Regan


According to EPA, requisite technology for meeting the rule’s standards could result in costs of as much as $8,300 per vehicle. Additionally, the agency indicated that it expects significant health benefits linked to the rule by 2045.

Per background the agency provided, “This final rule is consistent with President Biden’s executive order, ‘Strengthening American Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks’ and is the first step in the clean trucks plan.”

“EPA is taking significant action to protect public health, especially the health of 72 million people living near truck freight routes in America, including our most vulnerable populations in historically overburdened communities,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said Dec. 20. “But we’re not stopping there. This is just the first action under EPA’s clean trucks plan to pave the way toward a zero-emission future. These rigorous standards, coupled with historic investments from the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure law, will accelerate President Biden’s ambitious agenda to overhaul the nation’s trucking fleet, deliver cleaner air, and protect people and the planet.”

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