The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) settled in Long Beach, California outside of Los Angeles on Tuesday to hear public comments from various stakeholders concerning the proposed Phase 2 standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase fuel efficiency for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.
The recommended regulations would reduce carbon emissions by a considerable amount and improve the fuel efficiency of a number of commercial and private vehicles to address the challenges of global climate change and national energy security.
Christopher Grundler, director of the office of transportation and air quality of the EPA, said the changes as necessary to cut GHG and save money while also spurring innovation in clean energy. “This plan is ambition, yet achievable,” he added.
Attendee comments remained mostly positive, especially in regard to the outcomes of instigating the Phase 2 rules; however, there was disagreement from a number of representatives relating to the implementation specifics, business incentives and NOx standards.
Rep. Grace Napolitano, representing California’s 32nd congressional district, said she views the Phase 2 standards as an important step forward in combating climate change, as it is an issue that affects everyone. But, she added, the EPA could do more to circulate detailed information on the program along with the new technology required to comply with the regulations. She also thought that the EPA should establish a fund to assist companies that cannot afford the necessary equipment and vehicle upgrades.
Cummins, Inc. representative Brian Mormino, while voicing support for the necessity of the Phase 2 standards, said that pushing the timetable forward three years, a proposal from the California Air Resources Board, would be “unfeasible.” The extended Alternative 3 timetable, Mormino stated, would allot Cummins and other engine and vehicle manufacturers a realistic period for adoption.
“Proper lead time is critical, which is why we support the timeframe for 2027 for full implementation of the standards,” said Mormino. “This is fundamental to the success of the program.”
He continued, stating the need for national standardization for rules on GHG and NOx, and the carbon-dioxide emissions standards should be applied to all fuels, not just limited to diesel. Mormino also cited Cummins support for explicit engine standards, asserting that the proposed implied engine standards lacked focus.