EPA plans tougher tailpipe rules for trucks, vans and buses

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday proposed tough new limits on pollution from buses, delivery vans, tractor-trailers and o...


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Monday proposed tough new limits on pollution from buses, delivery vans, tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks — the first time in more than 20 years that exhaust standards have been tightened for the biggest polluters on the road.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new draft rule would require heavy goods vehicles to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions by 90% by 2031. Nitrogen dioxide is linked to lung cancer, heart disease and premature death.

The EPA also announced plans to slightly reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from trucks, a greenhouse gas that causes climate change. The new nitrogen oxide pollution rules would apply to trucks from model year 2027, while the carbon dioxide rules would apply to trucks from the 2024 model year.

The truck pollution rule is the latest in a series of new pollution policies under President Biden, which seek to cut dangerously warming emissions and rebuild environmental standards that had been weakened by President Donald J. Trump.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced the proposal, along with a slew of other federal clean transportation actions, including spending $5.5 billion to help states buy emission-efficient transit buses low or none, and $17 million to replace diesel school buses with electric versions in underserved areas. communities.

Late last year, the EPA reinforced standards on automobile pollution and announced new rules rule the methane, a climate-warming gas that escapes from oil and gas wells. This year, the agency is expected to roll out new restrictions on greenhouse gases and industrial soot emitted by power stations.

The administration touts the truck rule announced Monday as central to Mr. Biden’s environmental justice agenda because many communities of color are located along highways and are subject to high levels of pollution.

“An estimated 72 million people live near highway freight routes in America, and they are most likely to be people of color and low-income people,” said EPA Administrator Michael S.Regan. “These overburdened communities are directly exposed to pollution that causes respiratory and cardiovascular problems, among other serious and costly health effects. These new standards will significantly reduce hazardous pollution by harnessing recent advances in vehicle technologies from across the trucking industry as it moves toward a zero-emission transportation future.

Public health experts hailed the move. “The truck cleanup is an essential step in realizing the president’s vision of not only environmental justice, but cancer control,” said Paul Billings, senior vice president of the American Lung Association. “Diesel gas is a known carcinogen.”

The new limits would prevent up to 2,100 premature deaths, 6,700 hospital admissions and emergency room visits, 18,000 childhood asthma cases, 78,000 lost work days and 1.1 million school days lost by 2045, according to EPA estimates.

The agency estimates the rule’s economic benefits could be as high as $250 billion and said those benefits would “exceed its costs by billions of dollars.”

But truckers and manufacturers say the rule is too strict and costly, and compliance could drive up prices in the economy.

“This new standard may simply not be technologically feasible,” said Jed Mandel, president of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, an industry group. “We are worried about the cost. There is potential for negative impacts on the economy and employment. Nobody wants to see unionized jobs laid off. Lunch-bucket regular blue-collar workers. »

Jay Grimes, director of federal affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said new restrictions would be particularly onerous for small truckers, who he said make up 90% of the industry.

“We have seen since the start of the pandemic the daily efforts of truckers to maintain supply chain stability,” Grimes said. “Higher prices on the small business side are going to trickle down to consumers in the supply chain.”

The federal government last updated its truck emissions rule in 2001, when the EPA required commercial trucks to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions by 95% over 10 years. This contributed to a 40% drop in national nitrogen dioxide emissions, the agency said. He estimates the new rule will contribute to a 60% drop in emissions by 2045.

The EPA called the new rule the first of a three-stage ‘clean truck plan’ – a series of air quality and climate change regulations over the next three years designed to reduce pollution trucks and buses and to accelerate the transition to a future of all-electric, zero-pollution vehicles.

After a first year in which President Biden tried to push ambitious climate legislation through Congress, only to see it stallthe administration uses its a regulatory system to try to curb pollution.

The EPA is working on new car pollution limits, slated for next year, which it hopes will speed the transition to electric vehicles. Mr Biden has promised that half of all new cars sold in the United States by 2030 will be electric vehicles.

While the new truck regulations will reduce pollution that harms human health, they will do little to reduce emissions that warm the planet, climate experts have said.

The proposed regulations will require certain trucks, 17 of 33 heavy truck classes, to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. This is designed to boost sales of all-electric trucks in the United States from less than 1,000 in 2020 to about 1.5% of total truck sales, or about 10,000 trucks, in 2027.

But to put the United States on a path to a transition to all-electric trucks, upcoming truck rules would need to be much tougher, experts said.

“It is great to see that the rule leads to a 90% reduction in air pollution in heavy vehicles and at the same time opens the door to reducing greenhouse gas pollution,” said said Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, a research organization. “But we have what is called climate change and we really need to start driving electrification in the heavy-duty truck sector. My great concern is that the proposal as written does not do this. »

Advocates for warehouse workers, many of whom are exposed to constant diesel pollution, said they would like regulations that replace diesel-powered trucks with electric or zero-emission vehicles.

“Reducing emissions anywhere is fine,” said Yana Kalmyka, organizer of Warehouse Workers for Justice. “But if you think of a community that is traversed by tens of thousands of trucks a day, electrification is the only fair solution. The rule does not apply to other pollutants from industrial trucks such as soot, and we know that black and brown communities face cumulative loads of these pollutants.

Transportation is the largest single source of greenhouse gases generated by the United States, accounting for 29% of the country’s total emissions.

The EPA has announced plans to create another set of greenhouse gas rules for trucks, beginning with the 2030 model year, that will be “significantly stricter” than current standards and designed to speed up the transition to all-electric trucks.

“Waiting another few years to develop the next set of greenhouse gas standards for trucks is a mistake. We just don’t have the time,” said Margo Oge, an electric vehicle expert who led the EPA’s Transportation and Air Quality Bureau from 1994 to 2012. they will use this time to reinforce the standard now.

The rule announced Monday will be open for public comment for 46 days, and the EPA is expected to finalize it by the end of 2022.

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Newsrust - US Top News: EPA plans tougher tailpipe rules for trucks, vans and buses
EPA plans tougher tailpipe rules for trucks, vans and buses
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