Last week, the EPA moved to repeal Obama-era limits on air pollution from heavy-duty trucks with older engines. The initial rules sought to reduce several air pollutants, including tiny particles and greenhouse-gas emissions linked to climate change.
These “glider trucks” contribute heavily to air pollution in the Houston area and across the country, filling the air with smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter and other harmful pollutants. This pollution contributes to a host of respiratory problems and premature death.
In 2016, EPA took action to force glider manufacturers to meet the pollution control requirements that other truck manufacturers had to meet. Many companies publicly supported the provisions, including Cummins, Navistar, Nuss Truck and Equipment, Truck Country, GATR Truck Center, Worldwide Equipment Enterprises and Volvo. The rules were set to go into effect in January.
EPA estimates indicate that glider vehicles would result in as many as 6,400 premature deaths if the loophole stayed open until 2021. What’s more, glider trucks would account for one-third of the heavy truck fleet’s NOx and particulate matter emissions despite comprising only 5 percent of the freight trucks on the road.
Yet EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is now backing the glider manufacturers, citing the truck parts’ affordability and economic value for owners and operators.
Air Alliance Houston urges the EPA to uphold the stricter regulations and prioritize human health and safety over profits.