EPA Moves to Ease Emissions Regulations
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed plans to roll back emissions rules that govern gliders (trucks that have been built out of both new and remanufactured parts). These vehicles cost about twenty-five percent less than a new semi, but they are often built with outdated equipment that does not meet EPA standards. The Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Phase 2 Rule was a product of lengthy negotiations between regulators, car manufacturers, and leaders in the trucking industry. The rule was meant to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from buses and diesel trucks. Because of the practice of equipping gliders with old parts to keep costs down, this rule would phase out the production of such vehicles.
This decision has split the trucking industry– the bigger companies like Mack and Volvo are strictly against the repealing of the rule, while smaller companies are all for it. Large vehicle manufacturers have spent the last decade or so developing new equipment and technology to control and limit truck emissions, and they do not want their investments undercut. Smaller companies, however, are in favor of tossing the rule so they do not have to buy brand new trucks. GHG, Phase 2 was created as a compromise for both bigger and smaller companies, but it appears that they are unwilling to do so.
The EPA estimated that around ten thousand glider kits were produced in 2016, whereas a little over two-hundred and fifty thousand new semis were sold. Perhaps the problem is not with smaller companies being edged out by the bigger manufacturers, but with the rule itself. Many smaller glider manufacturers believe that they are being targeted by the EPA. Others claim that the rule did not discriminate against gliders, but only makes sure that everyone is complying with the rules. Glider companies are able, for the most part, to rebuild semis and make sure that they are compliant with the new rule. They just do not seem to want to because of the higher cost. As the new rules stands now, gliders would not be subjected to regulation because they are not considered “new” vehicles.
Once the final rule is posted, proponents and opponents of the rule will have sixty days to legally challenge it. Meaning that environmental groups can petition to keep the rule, or glider companies could file a lawsuit if they are not exempt. Spokespeople on both sides have expressed their disappointment and almost guaranteed that there will be legal actions taken.
Written by: Shayla Powers