The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Clean Trucks Plan faces a protracted fight before it can be fully implemented next month, after a group of 33 Republicans signed a resolution to block it.
Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska introduced the resolution on Thursday under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to nullify final rule issued by a federal agency and prevent a future rule that is “substantially similar” from being reintroduced without legislation. Fischer’s CRA targets EPA’s ‘‘Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards,’’ which is set be fully implemented on March 27.
Thirty-two of Fischer’s colleagues in the Senate signed on, including Senate Minority Whip John Thune, Ted Cruz of Texas, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Tim Scott of South Carolina.
EPA’s final rule seeks to tighten existing Phase 2 greenhouse gas emissions regulations for 2027 model-year engines and to set even more stringent Phase 3 rules starting in 2030. A proposal on the latter is expected next month, Reuters reported on Thursday.
But Fischer’s contingent notes that EPA’s own estimates on the cost of further cutting nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emissions fall between $2,568 and $8,304 per vehicle. The group also points out that EPA emissions regulations over the past two decades have cut NOx emissions by 98 to 99 percent.
“The Biden administration is saddling the trucking industry with an onerous regulation that would jack up vehicle costs and hurt good paying jobs,” Fischer said in a statement released by her office. “During a period of high inflation and supply chain disruptions, the last thing this country needs is more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers.”
School buses are generally built on truck chassis and utilize the same diesel engines as many of their Class 5-7 counterparts. The school transportation industry is also working through a historic nationwide driver shortage of its own.
School Transportation News will continue to monitor this story for updates.
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