ATA reacts to report that California will set own emissions standards

Updated Mar 24, 2023
Road sign with map of California

A major trucking trade organization expressed what it called its "grave concerns" over media reports that the federal Environmental Protection Agency may allow the state of California waivers to implement new, strict emissions rules for heavy-duty trucks.

On Monday, March 20, The Washington Post reported the Biden administration is set to approve new rules in California designed to cut tailpipe emissions and phase out sales of heavy-duty diesel trucks. 

“Our industry hopes these reports aren’t true," said Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Association in a statement. "We have worked tirelessly with EPA on aggressive, achievable timelines for emissions reductions over decades. In fact, a truck in 1988 emitted as much as 60 trucks today – a more than 98% reduction – and we’re committed to the path to zero. 

“If the reports are in fact accurate, let us remind you that this isn't the United States of California. As we learned in the pandemic, the supply chain can be a fragile thing – and its integrity must be preserved at the national level. This decision has little to do with improving the environment, and everything to do with placating the far left of the environmental lobby without regard for the hard-working men and women of our industry or our country who will be left to implement California’s vision for America. 

“The state and federal regulators collaborating on this unrealistic patchwork of regulations have no grasp on the real costs of designing, building, manufacturing and operating the trucks that deliver their groceries, clothes, and goods, but they will certainly feel the pain when these fanciful projections lead to catastrophic disruptions well beyond California’s borders."

Late last year, the EPA updated emission standards for heavy-duty commercial vehicles for the 2027 model year, tightening tailpipe NOx limits to a level 80%-plus below the current standard and reducing the particulate matter limit by 50%. The regulation would also require that OEMs extend warranties to 450,000 miles from 100,000 and useful life limits to 650,000 miles from 435,000 miles.

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Thirty-four senators, led by Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska, signed onto a resolution, which would use the Congressional Review Act to negate the EPA's rules finalized last December. That act allows the reversal of rules made by the executive branch by a simple majority vote in both the Senate and the House.