Did EPA Just Get Snookered on Trucking Emissions Rules?

Like Holly, I suppose it’s a good thing that EPA has — finally — proposed new rules for fuel efficient and greenhouse gas emissions from medium and large trucks.  But I remain highly skeptical that even these rules — as weak and tardy as they are — will ever see the light of day.  Once again, the administration’s attempt to be reasonable is going to turn it into Charlie Brown kicking the football.

Recall that these are not actual rules, but only proposed rules; they must go through a year of notice-and-comment rulemaking.  And if the GOP takes over the House, they will make sure to work with the truckers to water them down even further.  Here are the nut grafs from the New York Times report on it:

The standards proposed by the administration, after extensive consultation with manufacturers and trucking companies and a detailed review by the White House Office of Management and Budget, are significantly less ambitious to keep costs manageable, officials said.

The American Trucking Associations praised the approach, saying that allowing manufacturers and truck users to find ways to meet defined new mileage standards was preferable to imposing a fuel tax or a broad program for reducing carbon dioxide emissions on the entire transportation sector. The group said that it was withholding more detailed comment until it studied the proposed regulations.

You know what’s coming next.  The American Trucking Association, after the administration bent over backwards to satisfy its concerns, will suddenly find new problems with the rules, regret that the administration is proposing “job killing regulations,” and sue EPA as soon as they promulgate a final rule.  Lucy would be proud.

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “Did EPA Just Get Snookered on Trucking Emissions Rules?”

  1. Dear Holly,
    I agree that these proposed rules for medium and large trucks are unlikely to become law. There is not sufficient scientific proof or technical feasibility analysis to support the assertion that implementation of these rules would somehow mitigate climate change. There are no guarantees that implementation would result in any measurable impact on global atmospheric temperature whatsover, even when combined with other carbon dioxide emission controls.

    These proposed rules would necessarily result in increased costs and regulatory burdens on ordinary citizens, with no demonstrable benefits. Most of the claimed benefits are speculative and unsupported by hard evidence and reliable economic and technical data.
    These dubious benefit claims can not withstand truth analysis.

    The American people can safely avoid, ignore and reject these proposed rules without having to worry about suffering from adverse impacts to public health and safety, either now or in the future. The proof for such calamity does not exist.

  2. Actually, bqrq, this was Jonathan’s post. He’s right that the process won’t be rapid, but I’m more optimistic than he is that the proposed rules or something very close to them will become law in time to apply to the 2014 model year. It will happen because industry wants it to — this is their opportunity to get a single set of rules that will apply nationally — and because as the proposed rule sets out and the National Research Council affirms, it’s just not that tough to do. And by the way, the validity of this proposed rule doesn’t turn on the reality of climate change. NHTSA has an independent obligation under a 2007 law to set standards that will achieve the maximum feasible improvement in truck fuel efficiency.

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About Jonathan

Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic – Land Use, the Environment and Loc…

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