‘Realistic’ emissions goals touted at Senate hearing

February 15, 2023

Mark Schremmer


The road to zero emissions must be traveled on a realistic timeline.

That was American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear’s message to the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 15.

“The responsible approach is also the realistic approach,” Spear said during a hearing titled “The Future of Low Carbon Transportation Fuels and Considerations for a National Clean Fuels Program.”

“Achievable timelines and targets matter. We’re committed to a cleaner environment – we’ve proven that. We simply ask that we be realistic about the path forward. Do that, and we’ll post the best environmental gains possible.”

Ranking member Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va., also spoke out against attempts at dictating the timeline and which fuel sources to use.

“For those unfamiliar with a low-carbon fuel standard, it is a regulatory scheme meant to advantage fuels that generate lower carbon emissions in their production and use over fuels that emit more,” Capito said. “I am very concerned by the concept of empowering bureaucrats to decide what fuel sources qualify, how, and what associated phaseouts may look like.”

Cart before the horse?

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has long argued that truckers also want a cleaner environment, but that the technology must be reliable and cost-effective.

In January, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a final rule that imposes strict clean air standards for heavy-duty trucks beginning with model year 2027. The EPA says the rule will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in 2040 by more than 40%.

OOIDA opposes the mandate, saying that motor carriers will line up to purchase the new trucks once the equipment is proven to work properly and reduce costs.

Last week, Sen. Deb Fischer introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the rulemaking.

“The Biden administration is saddling the trucking industry with an onerous regulation that would jack up vehicle costs and hurt good paying jobs,” Fischer said in a news release. “This aggressive EPA rule – which will hit mom and pop truck operations the hardest – is also ineffective because it incentivizes operators to keep using older, higher-emitting trucks for longer. During a period of high inflation and supply chain disruptions, the last thing this country needs is more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers. I am proud to be leading a large coalition of my colleagues to push back against the Biden administration’s obsession with excessive climate regulations.” LL