House votes to roll back new EPA emissions rules; parking bill advances

Updated May 30, 2023
Row of parked trucks

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 221-203 to undo the new emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Senate narrowly passed a similar rollback last month.

The legislation now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to veto it. An override would require a two-thirds majority in each house.

Tuesday's House vote fell along party lines. However, four Democrats vote for it, and one Republican voted against it.

Major trucking industry organizations opposed the new EPA standards, which aimed at reducing a number of air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide. Opponents have said the new rules will drive up the cost of new trucks significantly, and see it as a way to force carriers to adopt ones powered by alternative fuels, especially battery-electric vehicles.

In other activities in the capital Tuesday, a significant bill to expand truck parking was approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The bill includes $755 million over three years to expand truck parking. It now awaits action by the full House.

The bipartisan Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act was introduced by Representatives Mike Bost (R-Illinois) and Angie Craig (D-Minnesota).

The Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association praised the committee's actions.

“Truckers are the backbone of the supply chain carrying over 70% of America’s freight, yet there is only one parking spot for every 11 trucks on the road,” said OOIDA President Todd Spencer. â€śOOIDA and our 150,000 members thank lawmakers from both parties who came together to advance this critical bill through the committee and we encourage the U.S. Senate to follow their lead by stepping up to address American truckers’ top safety concern.”  

Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) introduced companion legislation, which awaits action in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Funding for adding truck parking spaces would be awarded on a competitive basis and applicants would be required to submit detailed proposals to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The program’s primary focus would be to expand parking capacity through the construction of new truck parking facilities and the conversion of existing weigh stations and rest areas into functional parking spaces for truck drivers.

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Also on Tuesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved several other bills including:

  • one that would make permanent two DOT waivers that provide flexibility for the licensing of qualified new drivers. These waivers improve the application process for individuals seeking Commercial Driver’s Licenses by allowing skills test examiners to also administer the CDL knowledge test, and to administer a driving skills test to any applicant regardless of the applicants’ state of domicile or training. 
  • one that would provide a 10% weight tolerance specifically for stinger-steered automobile transporters.
  • one that would allow a 10% weight tolerance for dry bulk carriers to allow for the shifting of cargo, in vehicles loaded at or below federal weight limits, during transit.
  • one that would provide a 2,000-pound weight exemption to hydrogen-powered vehicles, similar to the exemption currently enjoyed by both battery-electric and natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks.

All now go to the full House for consideration.