Monday, September 25, 2023
Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer's bill to overturn stringent new EPA regulations for heavy duty trucks passed 50-49 in the Senate on April 26. Image:

US Senate overturns new EPA emissions rules in 50-49 vote

The Senate passed U.S. Senator Deb Fischer’s (R-Neb.) legislation to overturn President Biden’s aggressive EPA regulation on heavy-duty vehicle emissions by a vote of 50-49 on April 26. Fischer said the regulation would devastate the trucking industry, raise costs for consumers, and incentivize older, less efficient trucks to stay on the road. 

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer Photo: US Congress

Democrat Senator Joe Manchin crossed party lines to vote with the Republicans in passing the bill 50-49. The bill seeks to repeal the Biden administration rule finalized in December. Under the Congressional Review Act, a simple majority vote in both chambers of Congress can reverse recently finalized rules. The House of Representatives has not yet voted on the bill.

“This expensive rule won’t just negatively affect truckers. It will have a negative impact on our economy as a whole,” said Fischer.

“As families suffer under the burden of high inflation, the last thing we need are more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers. Today, the Senate took bipartisan action to stop yet another aggressive Biden regulation that would drive up costs for consumers, increase vehicle costs, and hurt good-paying jobs. This regulation is jeopardizing our economy, and I look forward to the Republican-controlled House taking up our legislation.”

The new EPA rules target heavy-duty truck and engine manufacturers by tightening yearly emissions limits and changing key provisions of existing rules to ensure emissions reductions in long-term road use. The rules toughen test procedures, regulatory useful life requirements and emission-related warranties.

“It’s really important, especially for protecting the health of the 72 million people living near truck freight routes in America,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan told Reuters News agency last December. He believes the rule would reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by as much as 48% by 2045.

Background from Senator Deb Fischer’s website:

“The EPA finalized its rule on new emissions standards for heavy duty vehicles on December 20, 2022. The rule’s new standards cover nitrogen oxides (NOx) and other air pollutants including particulate matter (PM), hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide (CO). The rule would also change requirements regarding emission control systems and emission-related warranties.

The EPA estimated the technology required to meet the new rule’s standards will cost between $2,568 and $8,304 per vehicle. The American Truck Dealers Association estimates it is more likely a $42,000 increase per truck. In total, the EPA projects the associated costs of this new regulation on the country could reach $55 billion over the lifetime of the program.

The EPA’s regulation would be challenging to implement and make new, compliant trucks cost-prohibitive. By increasing the cost of a new truck, the regulation actually incentivizes keeping older, higher-emitting trucks in service longer. It would also likely force many “mom & pop” commercial trucking operations out of business while encouraging larger trucking operations to pass these higher costs onto consumers. 

Adding new financial burdens on the trucking industry would increase the cost of any product transported by trucks, including food, clothing, and other commodities.”

A one-pager on the legislation can be found here.

A recap of stakeholder support can be found here

Full text of the legislation can be found here