ATA Concerns About Granting of Waiver for California Truck Regulations

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The American Trucking Association has expressed growing concerns about media reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may grant the state of California waivers to implement potentially harmful and unrealistic emissions rules.

ATA President and CEO Chris Spear commented on the matter: “Our industry hopes these reports aren’t true. 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.”

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He continues: “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.”

These potentially granted “waivers” include environmental rules that are significantly tougher than federal requirements which state regulators have already approved.

Heavy-duty trucks account for nearly a third of the state’s smog-forming nitrogen oxide and more than a quarter of its fine particle pollution from diesel fuel – already causing a profound effect on the air Californians breathe. Both of these harmful pollutants are linked to asthma, other respiratory illnesses, and even premature death.

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Environmental advocates have long pleaded with the state’s regulators to strengthen pollution limits on the trucks whose fumes scatter through local Californian neighborhoods.

Six other states (which together with California represent about 20 percent of the nation’s heavy-duty vehicle sales) have already committed to follow California’s tougher standards. However, because of the Clean Air Act (CAA), California and those other states cannot put their plans into action until the EPA grants the state a waiver.