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The EPA’s “Dirty Truck” Loophole Faces Opposition

| December 4, 2017

Dirty Truck

EPA is proposing to roll back emission safeguards against sales of dirty trucks, leaving the public to suffer from more air pollution, according to one environmental group, the Natural Resource Defense Council ( NRDC), which opposed the rollback at a public hearing in Washington, D.C.

The EPA proposal would lift restrictions on the number of new trucks that can be sold using old, refurbished engines (so-called “glider vehicles”) that don’t meet modern emissions standards. The proposal creates a dirty truck loophole that permits niche industry players to circumvent necessary clean air safeguards and sell an unlimited number of new, dirty trucks on the cheap.

Approximately 10,000 heavy trucks have been sold annually in recent years that lack modern combustion and emissions control technologies to reduce dangerous nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) from diesel exhaust. These pollutants contribute to ground-level ozone, or smog, and soot, and are directly linked to asthma attacks, respiratory and heart problems, and premature death.

In 2016, EPA adopted common-sense rules that require glider truck engines to meet the NOx, PM and greenhouse gas emissions limits for the year in which the vehicle is assembled. The rules allow small businesses to annually sell up to 300 new trucks with old engines that don’t meet today’s tough emissions standards.

This provision permits small companies to continue installing salvaged engines and transmissions from damaged trucks in new bodies and selling them as new trucks while limiting how much pollution glider trucks emit. Now EPA is doing an about-face and proposing to repeal these clean air safeguards at the request of companies that seek to sell thousands of new trucks that fail to meet modern (e.g. 2010) standards for NOx and PM.

The NRDC notes: “This dirty truck loophole created by allowing unfettered sales of new trucks with old, dirty engines will lead to thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—of premature deaths. According to EPA’s analysis, one model year of 10,000 glider vehicles would increase air pollution enough to cause 1,600 premature deaths.”

What’s more, the financial and health stakes are high: NRDC reports that the rollback that EPA is proposing  will cost Americans billions of dollars in increased health care expenses. Health damages to Americans are estimated to be $6 to $14 billion annually according to EPA’s analysis if the sales of these dirty trucks are unrestricted.

Category: General Update

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