Senate Advances Truck Emissions Rule Rollback
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The trucking industry is applauding Senate passage of an effort to roll back federal emissions standards associated with heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
By a 50-49 vote April 26, a Republican-led joint resolution specifically targeted Environmental Protection Agency regulations that set certain new standards for trucking emissions.
This legislative effort, initiated in February, gained strong backing from senior Republicans who argued the new regulations would disrupt supply chain connectivity and exacerbate inflation.
“As families suffer under the burden of high inflation, the last thing we need are more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers. Today, the Senate took bipartisan action to stop yet another aggressive Biden regulation that would drive up costs for consumers, increase vehicle costs and hurt good-paying jobs,” said Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), the measure’s lead sponsor.
“This regulation is jeopardizing our economy, and I look forward to the Republican-controlled House taking up our legislation,” added Fischer, a member of the Commerce Committee tasked with overseeing freight policies.
Per background the senator’s office provided, the EPA’s regulation would be “challenging to implement and make new, compliant trucks cost-prohibitive. 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.”
Senate Republicans unified on the resolution, and were joined by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The Democrat from West Virginia explained his support: “The last couple of years have shown that truck drivers keep our country moving. However, the Biden administration wants to burden the trucking industry with oppressive regulations that will increase prices by thousands of dollars and push truck drivers and small trucking companies out of business.
“When our country faces record-high inflation and vulnerable supply chains, we cannot let the EPA continue to seize unrestrained power and create regulations that devastate our economy. I am proud to support this resolution to stop this government overreach.”
Key stakeholders touted the Senate vote. Bill Sullivan, executive vice president of advocacy at American Trucking Associations, asserted, “ATA believes we must set achievable and realistic targets along the way to our shared goal of zero emissions. To that end, we support Sen. Fischer’s efforts to shine a light on the significant issues with the road map currently being drafted by the administration.
“We hope to continue working with her, and other champions in Congress, coalition partners in industry and federal regulators to set and achieve realistic emissions goals for our industry.”
Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said, “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.”
Truckload Carriers Association President Jim Ward said in a statement provided by the measure’s sponsor: “We need a common-sense approach to tackling the challenges brought by emissions reduction, and Sen. Fischer’s resolution is a positive step in that direction.”
House Republican leaders have yet to schedule a vote on the Senate-passed measure. A companion resolution in the lower chamber is led by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas), chairman of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.
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Meanwhile, the White House has announced its opposition to the GOP-backed legislative effort, noting the president would veto it. Thus far, congressional Republicans appear to lack requisite votes for a veto override.
The agency argued its rule, finalized in December, will result in significant health benefits. Proponents point to its role in addressing climate change.
“The final program includes new, more stringent emissions standards that cover a wider range of heavy-duty engine operating conditions compared to today’s standards, and it requires these more stringent emissions standards to be met for a longer period of time of when these engines operate on the road,” according to EPA “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.”
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