OOIDA challenges EPA’s ‘unworkable’ truck emission rule in federal court

June 18, 2024

Tyson Fisher


The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and several other stakeholders have joined efforts to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest truck emission rule.

On Tuesday, June 18, OOIDA, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Corn Growers Association filed a petition for review in a District of Columbia federal court of appeals. The petition challenges the EPA’s “Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles – Phase 3” rule, which was published in April.

Representing truckers, farmers and the oil and gas industry, petitioners claim EPA’s truck emission rule “exceeds the agency’s statutory authority and is otherwise arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law.” The petition asks the court to declare the rule unlawful and to vacate it.

“Small-business truckers make up 96% of trucking and could be regulated out of existence if the EPA’s unworkable heavy-duty rule comes into effect,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said in a statement. “This rule would devastate the reliability of America’s supply chain and ultimately increase costs for consumers. Mom-and-pop trucking businesses would be suffocated by the sheer cost and operational challenges of effectively mandating zero-emission trucks, but this administration appears intent on forcing through its deluge of misguided environmental mandates. As the voice of over 150,000 small-business truckers, we owe it to our members and every small-business trucker in America to leave no stone unturned in fighting these radical environmental policies.”

Tuesday’s petition for review is the third such petition challenging the new truck emission standards.

In May, 24 states led by Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers filed the first petition. Hilgers and the coalition of states also filed a lawsuit challenging California’s Advanced Clean Fleets on the same day.

“California and an unaccountable EPA are trying to transform our national trucking industry and supply chain infrastructure,” Hilgers said in a statement. “This effort – coming at a time of heightened inflation and with an already-strained electrical grid – will devastate the trucking and logistics industry, raise prices for customers and impact untold number of jobs across Nebraska and the country. Neither California nor the EPA has the constitutional power to dictate these nationwide rules to Americans.”

Soon after, the Western States Trucking Association, along with the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition, filed a second petition for review.

“EPA does not have the legal authority to require the wholesale electrification of trucks and cars. The rules are not only inconsistent with the Clean Air Act—they are unconstitutional,” Ted Hadzi-Antich, a senior attorney with Texas Public Policy Foundation, said in a statement. “In promulgating the illegal rules, EPA ignores the obvious fact that there is woefully insufficient infrastructure in the nation to support the break-neck pace set by EPA for switching from fossil fuels to electricity. In the process, EPA restricts the freedom of ordinary Americans to choose their preferred modes of transportation. Congress never gave EPA that kind of expansive authority over individual liberty.”

The EPA’s new truck emission standards require 25% of new sleeper cab tractors to be zero-tailpipe-emission trucks by 2032.

Manufacturers can reach the requirement through a variety of technologies. However, there is a focus on battery-electric due largely to price and charging infrastructure.

The three petitions for review come shortly after Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution to undo the final rule. On May 1, Sens. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., and Dan Sullivan, R-Ark., along with Rep. John James, R-Mich., announced the introduction of Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions to invalidate the EPA’s latest rules setting stricter emission standards for both heavy-duty trucks and passenger vehicles. LL