Congressional Republicans Target EPA Rule

Published on 7/10/2024 9:44:48 AM

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Senior congressional Republicans recently called on the Biden administration to abandon an emissions rule the Environmental Protection Agency issued earlier this year specific to the freight sector.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, more than 150 Republican lawmakers outlined myriad concerns related to the administration’s efforts meant to assist industries with transitioning from traditional sources of fuel.

“This rule will only further increase costs for American families, businesses and rural communities while fueling more inflation. We need to give Americans a choice in the cars and trucks that they drive, and affordability and performance for the trucking industry is paramount,” the lawmakers, led by Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), wrote July 2.

Feenstra, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, explained his stance on the matter: “The Biden administration’s mandate that impacts all trucks, tractors, buses and semis would strain our supply chains, hurt our farmers, harm our economy and increase costs for every single American.

Rep. Randy Feenstra (left), Sen. Mike Crapo

Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa), left, and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)  

“On top of inflation, poor economic conditions and other regulations, this de facto [electric vehicle] mandate on our truckers, manufacturers, farmers and dealers will hike the cost of groceries, utility bills and everyday goods that American families rely on. It’s also a deliberate attack on liquid fuels — including homegrown Iowa biofuels — that are vital to our energy, economic and national security.”

Crapo, ranking member on the Finance Committee, added, “We deserve a choice in the cars and trucks that we drive, especially when the consequences of these mandates are so detrimental to the economic success of families, businesses and rural communities.”

Republican Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, as well as Reps. Garret Graves of Louisiana and Rick Crawford of Arkansas, signed on to the letter.

Freight stakeholders endorsing the lawmakers’ pushback on the new EPA emissions rule include American Trucking Associations.

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,” said Henry Hanscom, ATA senior vice president of legislative affairs.

“ATA believes the most effective path to fixing the serious flaws in [greenhouse gas Phase 3] is through legislative and administrative means,” he added. “That’s why we welcome this effort led by Rep. Feenstra and Sen. Crapo calling on EPA to withdraw this unworkable rule and review the targets to account for the operational realities of trucking.”

Amplifying ATA’s concerns is the industry-backed Clean Freight Coalition. The group argued EPA sets unachievable adoption rates for battery-electric trucks.

“Utilities and the government will need to invest $370 billion to upgrade their networks and the power grid to meet the demands of the commercial vehicle industry alone, putting the price tag for an electric supply chain at nearly $1 trillion before one battery-electric commercial vehicle is purchased,” according to the coalition.

Relatedly, a report by the American Transportation Research Institute determined a series of impediments associated with domestic electric vehicle production and truck-charging requirements.

The recent GOP letter to EPA is the latest action by members of Congress pursuing to modify or halt elements of the administration’s transportation agenda. Earlier this year, more than 100 congressional Republicans introduced procedural measures designed to pause new federal emissions rules for passenger and heavy-duty vehicles.


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In March, EPA announced its Phase 3 emissions rule. The agency explained the final rule “includes new, stronger greenhouse gas standards that phase in over [model years] 2027 through 2032. The standards are technology-neutral and performance-based, allowing each manufacturer to choose what set of emissions- control technologies is best suited to meet the standards and the needs of their customers.”

“This means,” according to EPA, “that the standards can be met with a diverse range of heavy-duty vehicle technologies, including advanced internal combustion engine vehicles, hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”

The administration’s Joint Office of Energy and Transportation also has unveiled a road map for reducing emissions through 2040. Federal officials explained they would rely on this strategy to advance the adoption of zero-emission Class 8 trucks.


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