Feds want to tighten truck emissions standards


Just four years after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized a sweeping set of regulations aimed at cutting emissions from heavy-duty trucks and tractors by 25% by 2027, the agency is considering new, tighter rules that would create a so-called “50-state program” that harmonizes emissions standards nationally.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Monday announced an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), which is part of the Trump EPA’s Cleaner Trucks Initiative. The agency seeks input from the public and the trucking industry about the next phase of regulations, which are aimed at cutting nitrogen oxide (NOx) and other air pollutants, Wheeler said.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler (USEPA photo by Eric Vance)EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler (USEPA photo by Eric Vance)

Wheeler was flanked by representatives from the American Trucking Associations, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association and the Diesel Technology Forum at Monday’s announcement.

“The U.S. has made major reductions in NOx emissions, but through this initiative we will continue to reduce emissions, while spurring innovative new technologies, ensuring heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation,” Wheeler said.

The 97-page ANPRM was posted online Monday by EPA, though it hasn’t yet been published in the Federal Register. Once published, the public can comment for 30 days.

In Wheeler’s address Monday — and in the ANPRM — the EPA says it intends to work with manufacturers and others in the industry to develop the new regulations. However, any formal regulations stemming from the ANPRM are likely years away. Rulemakings such as this generally take several years to move from the ANPRM stage to a final, published rule.

Top brass at ATA and OOIDA applauded EPA’s proposal.

“ATA is committed to continuing to work closely with EPA on developing the next generation of low-NOx emitting trucks through the Cleaner Trucks Initiative. To this end, the trucking industry seeks one national, harmonized NOx emissions standard that will result in positive environmental progress while not compromising truck performance and delivery of the nation’s goods,” said ATA’s Bill Sullivan, executive VP of advocacy.

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“Serious problems with earlier rulemakings have left small-business truckers justifiably wary of new emissions reduction proposals. However, over the last year, representatives of the EPA have gone to great lengths to fully understand how new policies may affect our members, which wasn’t standard practice under previous administrations. OOIDA believes the agency’s desire to avoid the mistakes of the past is genuine. We’re hopeful our ongoing conversations with EPA and the feedback our members will soon provide during the ANPRM comment period will lead to the development of an acceptable new standard,”said OOIDA President Todd Spencer.