July 21–California is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to suspend a regulation that would have limited pollution from trucks.
The regulation, known as the Glider rule, was an Obama-era limit on glider trucks and kits.
Glider trucks are heavy-duty trucks that combine a new truck body with a used engine and transmission. Environmental groups call them “super polluters.” The EPA’s own research has shown that they emit up to 55 times as much air pollution as trucks with modern technology.
The EPA has also estimated that the trucks make up just 2 percent of heavy-duty truck sales and account for about 50 percent of the air pollution from all trucks. The Obama administration said pollution from the rebuilt trucks could lead to 1,600 early deaths each year.
These vehicles don’t deserve a place on our roads. That’s why the EPA had placed a 300-unit glider truck cap per truck manufacturer.
But former EPA chief Scott Pruitt hated the rule — he claimed it “threatened to put an entire industry of specialized truck manufacturers out of business” — and one of his final acts was to suspend its enforcement.
Coming so soon after the EPA’s proposal to roll back rules requiring automakers to nearly double fuel economy in passenger vehicles by 2025, the glider truck rule suspension is a stark signal of the Trump-era EPA’s dedication to industry over public health.
Following a separate lawsuit filed by environmental groups, an appeals court in Washington, D.C., has already temporarily blocked the EPA’s decision.
But California’s lawsuit, filed alongside 14 other states, reflects the huge stake that our state has in the EPA’s decisions on vehicular pollution.
Recently, the California Air Resources Board released data showing that the state has made great strides to meet its 2020 climate change goals under AB32.
There was one major exception to this progress: emissions from transportation, which have increased alongside the state’s booming economy. California won’t reach its 2030 emission reduction goals without cutting emissions that are coming from cars, trucks, planes and boats.
That would be a tough, but achievable goal — if the EPA were fulfilling its mission to protect the public’s health.
Unfortunately, right now the EPA is sabotaging its own rules. That’s the challenge for California and the whole country.
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