Congress doubles down, insisting EPA roll back Phase 3 GHG rule

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Updated Jul 3, 2024

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) led a group of more than 150 members of Congress in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging the Biden administration to overturn the agency’s Phase 3 Greenhouse Gas final rule for heavy-duty trucks.

The rule has been under constant fire since its publication, with numerous lawsuits from trucking and other industries and efforts from Congress to roll back the regulation. As previously reported, a group of 24 states filed a lawsuit challenging the regulation, along with the American Petroleum Institute with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, and the Western States Trucking Association with the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition

Additionally, members of the House and Senate penned separate letters to Regan asking for the rule to be withdrawn. Both chambers of Congress also voted to revoke the rule, but the attempt was vetoed by President Joe Biden.

In the new bicameral letter, legislators said the Phase 3 rule “would disrupt the heavy-duty truck industry by forcing the broad adoption of heavy-duty zero emission vehicles on an extremely aggressive timeline, despite these vehicles currently being less than 1% of sales.” The letter also cited a recent study that found it would cost nearly $1 trillion in infrastructure investments to fully electrify the U.S. fleet.

[Related: 'Massive' rate increase needed to finance $1 trillion electric trucking conversion]

The letter goes on to explain the impact of the rule on the farming and agriculture industry “that would see higher equipment costs and tighter margins due to this misguided rule.”

The legislators also highlight the impacts of the rule on the average American consumer, including higher utility costs, grocery prices and more.

“This de facto mandate does not consider the realities of the commercial zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) marketplace or consider the ability for small businesses in rural America to purchase and operate these vehicles,” the letter says. “Trucks must be affordable and reliable, otherwise the intended benefits will not be realized. This rule will harm our families and businesses, increases our gas prices, and makes us more dependent on foreign supply chains -- particularly China.”

The American Trucking Associations, which has not joined in other industry lawsuits targeting the rule, applauded the legislators for the letter.

"ATA remains opposed to EPA’s current GHG3 rule,” said ATA Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Henry Hanscom. “The current state of available zero-emission technology, very limited heavy-duty charging and refueling infrastructure, and an unstable power grid make the post-2030 targets entirely unachievable. ATA believes the most effective path to fixing the serious flaws in GHG3 is through legislative and administrative means. That’s why we welcome this effort led by Congressman Feenstra and Senator Crapo calling on EPA to withdraw this unworkable rule and review the targets to account for the operational realities of trucking.”

The American Truck Dealers group is also backing the Congressional effort to roll back the Phase 3 rule.

“Apart from the greater cost of ZEV trucks, the U.S. lacks a national commercial vehicle charging network, which makes customer adoption of heavy-duty ZEVs and their day-to-day use impractical,” said ATD Chairman Scott Pearson. “EPA rushed this rule and did not consider its impact on jobs at all.” 

[Related: EPA Phase 3 truck emissions rule destined to fail? Industry reactions pour in]

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