Court blocks EPA’s glider enforcement delay

July 19, 2018

Mark Schremmer

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A federal appeals court has blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from exercising “enforcement discretion” on glider manufacturers while the agency evaluates its proposal to repeal emission requirements for glider vehicles.

The EPA announced on July 9 that it had decided to delay through 2019 the enforcement of a cap that would limit the number of glider trucks that could be built. The agency said the delay was intended to reduce the impact on the industry until a resolution could be reached.

Based on the Obama-era regulation, glider manufacturers were going to be limited to building 300 trucks in 2018. Backing off enforcement means glider manufacturers would be able to produce as many gliders as they did in 2017, when they were limited to the number of gliders they built in their biggest production year between 2010 and 2014.

However, The Environmental Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on Tuesday, July 17 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia against the EPA over its decision not to enforce the regulation. The environmentalist group also motioned for an emergency stay on the decision until the court makes a ruling.

The court granted the stay on Wednesday, July 18, preventing the EPA from using “enforcement discretion” in this matter. The three-judge panel voted 2-1. However, the court’s decision to grant the motion doesn’t affect how the court will ultimately rule in the lawsuit.

It was the latest blow in a long fight over whether or not gliders should be included in the Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas regulations.

In November 2017, the EPA proposed to repeal emission requirements for glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits, because gliders shouldn’t be defined as new vehicles. It has never become a final rule.

Molly Block, a spokeswoman for the EPA, said the agency’s enforcement delay was intended to reduce the negative effects to the industry until a final rule can be completed.

“After taking into consideration the public comments received as well as engagement with stakeholders, EPA has determined that additional evaluation of a number of matters is required before it can take final action on one or more aspects of the proposal,” Block said in a statement. “Until a final rule can be completed to bring regulatory certainty to glider manufacturers, the agency is considering interim steps to reduce severe impacts on the industry.”

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.