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State Attorneys General Seek to Slam Brakes on EPA Rollback of Truck Rule

California AG Becerra leads 12 AGs in once again fighting for clean air

January 5, 2018
Contact: stateimpactcenter@nyu.edu
Washington, D.C.— California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today led 12 attorneys general in opposing the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) attempt to repeal a key rule that limits the amount of emissions permitted from trucks known as "gliders." These trucks have a new body but a refurbished engine. The 2016 Glider Rule holds these trucks to the same emissions standards new trucks must meet. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced he would seek to repeal the Glider Rule, reportedly after meeting “with the manufacturer that stands to benefit most from the rule’s repeal."

"State attorneys general are seeking to slam the breaks on EPA's latest attempt to repeal an important environmental rule that helps to ensure clear air," said David J. Hayes, executive director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law and former Interior deputy secretary in the Obama and Clinton Administrations. "EPA’s own data show that repealing the Glider Rule for a single model year would generate enough particulate pollution to cause up to 1,600 premature deaths. While EPA abdicates its responsibilities, state attorneys general are defending commonsense policies that protect the well-being of residents of their states." 

“Repealing the Glider Rule is bad for our environment, for the health of our families, and for truckers and shippers who play by the rules and operate trucks with cleaner fuel-burning engines,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to set and enforce motor-vehicle emissions standards. If EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decides to neglect this legal responsibility by doing away with the Glider Rule, we are prepared to take any and all action to protect the air our children breathe and the vitality and level playing field of the trucking industry, an important sector of our economy.”  

“Yet again, EPA Administrator Pruitt is showing his true colors – ignoring his legal obligation, and failing to protect the American people from environmental harm,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. “The Glider Rule was put into place to enforce vehicle emission standards, and helps create a more fair and balanced approach to enforcing those standards on the truck industry.”

“Protecting the air we breathe means keeping our families healthier and happier,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein. “That is why I oppose the EPA’s dirty truck loophole. It will not only make our air dirtier, it also will be unfair to the truck manufacturers, like Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks in Greensboro, and trucking companies that play by the rules and use up-to-date, cleaner truck engines.”

In the comments, the attorneys general argue that "EPA’s Proposed Repeal rests on a legally untenable reinterpretation of the Agency’s duty to regulate harmful air pollutants from 'new motor vehicles' and 'new motor vehicle engines,' which conflicts with the language, history and purpose of section 202(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), and the CAA as a whole. Further, EPA uncritically accepts the contentions of a few glider manufacturers that were soundly rejected in the 2016 rulemaking, and ignores its own economic and environmental analysis from the Glider Rule. In doing so, EPA proposes to act arbitrarily and capriciously, without providing any good reason or substantial justification for its reversal of position. Simply put, gliders are a pollution menace that, unless properly regulated, threaten to undermine the entire national program to reduce harmful emissions from heavy duty vehicles and engines."

The comments were filed by the attorneys general of: California; Connecticut; Illinois; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Vermont; and Washington.

The opposition filed today marks the latest effort by attorneys general since the start of the Trump Administration to defend policies and regulations that promote clean air for their residents. Attorneys general have sought to stop harmful oil and gas methane pollution and coal plant carbon dioxide pollution; filed lawsuits to ensure implementation of EPA's cross-state air pollution rule protecting downwind states from smog pollution; challenged EPA’s attempts to avoid its obligation to designate areas with unhealthy air; and insisted that EPA continues to implement a full suite of existing fuel efficiency standards. Attorneys general, led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman, have also promised to sue once the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan is finalized. 

ABOUT THE STATE IMPACT CENTER: The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center is a non-partisan Center at the NYU School of Law that is dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory rollbacks and advocate for clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. It was launched in August 2017 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. For more information, visit http://www.law.nyu.edu/centers/state-impact.