U.S. Senators Seek to Overturn EPA Truck Emissions Rule

The trucking industry has universally opposed the EPA Phase 3 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) regulations because the technology is not ready for prime time and the rule is oblivious to the realities of freight transportation. While EPA emphasizes that the regulations "do not mandate the use of a specific technology,” the emission projections for the final years of the rule depend heavily on the use of battery-operated electric trucks and other zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs).

Now Members of Congress have joined truckers in opposing the EPA emissions mandate. Four U.S. Senators have introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to kill the EPA Phase 3 rule. The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to overturn the actions of federal regulatory agencies. As with legislation, a CRA resolution requires passage in both the Senate and the House, plus a signature by the president, to become effective.

Research shows that battery-operated trucks are heavier, which reduces the amount of freight that can be transported in each load; that current electric trucks have limited range; that the battery recharging process eats up truck driver hours of service; and that there are relatively few truck recharging stations yet.

Recent testimony from American Trucking Associations shared what has happened when well-meaning truckers have tried to get ahead of the game by applying for permits to install charging stations for future electric trucks. In virtually every such case, these truckers have been denied the required permits because utility companies say the grid does not have the capacity to serve truck charging stations, regardless of where they are located.

Congress passed a similar CRA effort in 2023 to stop EPA’s Heavy Duty Truck Rule but the bill was vetoed by President Biden. If passed by Congress, a similar fate may await this CRA resolution. But, as one veteran legislator said, a CRA resolution is one mechanism to maintain a semblance of good government.

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