EPA to axe rule banning older, dirtier diesel engines in new trucks: report


Semi trailer

Semi trailer

The EPA recently announced it will roll back the Clean Power Plan, one of former President Obama's milestone efforts to fight climate change, and now the agency plans to axe another rule limiting emissions.

Next on the chopping block is a regulation that limits emissions from large trucks and their components.

Remarkably, the regulation that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt plans to eliminate is supported by nearly all major truck makers.

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The single stark voice of disapproval comes from makers of so-called gliders, the makers of engineless truck chassis-and-cab units.

The current regulation prohibits glider makers from installing outdated and much dirtier diesel engines into new gliders.

Should the EPA overturn the regulation, it would open up a loophole for glider makers that would let them continue to use dirtier engines indefinitely, according to The Washington Post.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt [photo from 2014]

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt [photo from 2014]

Public health advocates and environmental groups, including Environment America, condemned the potential action.

"Old, dirty truck engines pollute our air and make us sick," said Margie Alt, Executive Director of Environment America, in a statement. "Their emissions cause asthma attacks, hospital visits and can even kill."

The EPA estimates gliders using older, dirtier engines produce emission levels 20 to 40 times higher than do engines built today, including higher levels of both soot and smog-forming nitrogen oxide.

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It's estimated the Obama-era rule will prevent between 350 and 1,600 premature deaths in 2017 alone over the lifetime of the trucks since soot and other air pollutants from the older engines contribute to lung and heart diseases.

The report says Pruitt met in May with the glider manufacturer that would benefit most from eliminating the rule; In August, he announced he would reexamine that regulation.

But unlike some Obama-era regulations, the majority of the trucking industry favors the current rule and has not lobbied to overturn it.

Chrome exhaust pipe

Chrome exhaust pipe

Volvo Group North America, Cummins, and Navistar executives collectively penned a letter to the Pruitt that urged him to leave the regulation in place.

The truck makers joined the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, the American Trucking Associations, and the Truck Rental and Leasing Association in voicing their concerns.

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Glider kits “should not be used for circumventing purchase of currently certified powertrains,” the letter read.

If the EPA overturns the rule, the pollution consequences would be equivalent to slashing the latest carbon regulations for cars, trucks, and existing power plants—based on an analysis by the EPA itself.

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