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OOIDA challenges EPA’s ‘unworkable’ truck emissions rule in federal court

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and several other stakeholders have joined forces to repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest emissions regulation.

On Tuesday, June 18, OOIDA, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Corn Growers Association filed a petition for review in a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia challenging the EPA’s “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles – Phase 3” rule released in April.

The plaintiffs, who represent truck drivers, farmers, and the oil and gas industry, claim that the EPA’s truck emissions rule “exceeds the agency’s statutory authority and is otherwise arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not consistent with law.” The lawsuit asks the court to declare the rule unlawful and to strike it down.

“Small truck drivers make up 96% of truck traffic and could be eliminated through regulation if the unworkable EPA rule on heavy trucks goes into effect,” said Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA, in a statement. “This rule would destroy the reliability of America’s supply chain and ultimately raise costs for consumers. Small truck drivers would be crushed by the enormous costs and operational challenges associated with effectively adopting zero-emission trucks, but this administration seems determined to push through its barrage of misguided environmental regulations. As the voice of over 150,000 small truck drivers, we owe it to our members and every small truck driver in America to leave no stone unturned to fight these radical environmental policies.”

The request for review filed on Tuesday is the third such request against the new emissions standards for trucks.

In May, 24 states, led by Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers, filed the first petition. That same day, Hilgers and the coalition of states also filed a lawsuit against California’s Advanced Clean Fleets.

“California and an irresponsible EPA are attempting to reshape our national transportation industry and supply chain infrastructure,” Hilgers said in a statement. “This proposal – coming at a time of elevated inflation and an already overburdened power grid – will devastate the transportation and logistics industry, raise prices for customers and impact countless jobs in Nebraska and across the country. Neither California nor the EPA have the constitutional power to dictate these nationwide rules to Americans.”

Shortly thereafter, the Western States Trucking Association and the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition filed a second request for review.

“The EPA does not have the legal authority to require widespread electrification of trucks and cars. The rules are not only inconsistent with the Clean Air Act – they are unconstitutional,” Ted Hadzi-Antich, a senior attorney with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said in a statement. “In promulgating the illegal rules, the EPA is ignoring the obvious fact that the nation’s infrastructure is woefully inadequate to support the rapid pace of transition from fossil fuels to electricity that the EPA has mandated. In doing so, the EPA is restricting the freedom of ordinary Americans to choose their preferred mode of transportation. Congress has never granted the EPA such sweeping authority over individual liberty.”

The EPA’s new emissions standards for trucks require that 25% of new tractor units with sleeper cabs must be zero-emission trucks by 2032.

Manufacturers can meet the requirement through a variety of technologies, but the focus is mainly on battery-electric vehicles due to price and charging infrastructure.

The three requests for review come shortly after Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution to repeal the final rule. On May 1, Senators Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.), along with Representative John James (R-Michigan), announced the introduction of Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions to invalidate the EPA’s latest regulations, which set stricter emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks and passenger vehicles. LL

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