Transportation Today
Republican senators take aim at tougher EPA standards for heavy-duty vehicle emissions
By Chris Galford
A collection of 33 Republican senators threw their support behind a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval (S.J.Res.11) last week to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newest rule on heavy-duty vehicle emissions.
The rule in question – Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards – was finalized last month and will go into effect on March 27, 2023, according to a publishing in the Federal Register. These standards seek to lower emissions of NOx emissions and other air pollutants, carbon monoxide, and air toxics among vehicles from Class 2b (such as the Ford F-250) through Class 8 (semi-trucks) no later than model year 2027.
However, the GOP has lined up against the measures as an overreach of green efforts by the Biden administration, which has emphasized clean energy and decarbonization in the face of global climate change.
“The Biden Administration’s misguided ‘green’ crusade knows no bounds,” U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), one of the resolution’s cosponsors, said. “The last thing American consumers need is another onerous regulation that will raise prices and crush our supply chain. Senate Republicans will continue fighting this Administration’s power grabs.”
Specifically, the cosponsors claimed the rule unnecessary due to existing regulations already decreasing NOx emissions between 98 percent and 99 percent compared to those built in the late 1990s. However, in the publication of its new rule, the EPA noted that heavy-duty engines left as-is would remain one of the largest contributors to mobile source NOx emissions nationwide, amounting to 32 percent of the mobile source NOx emissions in 2045.
“Furthermore, we estimate that without this final rule, heavy-duty engines would represent 90 percent of the on-road NOx inventory in calendar year 2045,” the EPA wrote.
Some truck organizations and manufacturers have also opposed the new standards, citing difficulty to implement and a case of hopes outpacing available technology. EPA’s estimates put technology costs to meet the new rule’s standards between $2,568 and $8,304 per vehicle.
“Here we go again,” U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), another cosponsor of the resolution, said. “The new EPA heavy-duty vehicle emissions rule again demonstrates the Biden administration’s complete willingness to bring the heavy hand of government down on industry, in this case on the trucking industry that keeps our economy moving. What’s even scarier than imposing new rules on everything from heavy-duty pickups to semis is the fact the EPA is already working on more restrictive rules.”
The resolution was introduced by U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE).