EPA Withdraws Decision Not to Enforce Cap on Super-polluter Trucks

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency abruptly withdrew its decision to stop enforcing production caps on super-polluting diesel "glider" trucks. The reversal comes just days after the D.C. Circuit Court ordered a stay of the non-enforcement decision following an emergency motion filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Defense Fund and Sierra Club.

"The utter lawlessness of Scott Pruitt’s gambit to foul our air with thousands more ultra-dirty trucks was obvious to all," said Vera Pardee, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. "But Andrew Wheeler didn’t stop Pruitt’s last-gasp mayhem until the court stayed his hand."

The withdrawal notice, signed by Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, reverses former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s last-day-on-the job decision to allow companies to ignore the cap. Before filing the lawsuit last week, the Center and its allies had requested that Wheeler rescind Pruitt’s decision but received no response. This notice came just days before the EPA’s deadline to defend its non-enforcement decision in court.

A "glider" is a diesel freight truck assembled by installing a used engine and powertrain in a new truck body. Because their engines were built under outdated pollution standards, the EPA estimates that glider trucks emit 20 to 40 times more smog-forming nitrogen oxide and soot-causing particulate matter than new trucks on the market.

Using the EPA’s own conservative estimates, every year of uncapped glider production could cause up to 1,600 premature deaths from fine-particulate-matter emissions alone.

The current law limits glider manufacturers to producing no more than 300 super-polluting glider vehicles per year, but the companies are free to produce unlimited glider trucks as long as they use engines meeting current emission standards.

However, Pruitt’s proposed 2017 rule would eliminate all limits on their production and declare them outside of the EPA’s regulatory authority.

"Wheeler still hasn’t withdrawn Pruitt’s unconscionable proposal to eliminate all pollution limits for these zombie trucks," said Pardee. "Until he does, he and his predecessor are birds of a feather."

SOURCE: Center for Biological Diversity