Rep. Nehls introduces measure to overturn EPA rule

April 10, 2023

Mark Schremmer


Resolutions to overturn strict emission standards on heavy-duty trucks have now been introduced in the House and the Senate.

Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, submitted on April 6 a joint resolution in opposition of the Environmental Protection Agency’s final rule that aims to impose stringent clean air standards for heavy-duty trucks beginning with model year 2027. In February, Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., introduced a similar measure in the Senate.

HJRes 53 would demonstrate “that Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the administrator of the EPA relating to Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards, and such rule shall have no force or effect.” The resolution was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Nehls’ measure didn’t have any initial co-sponsors, but Fischer’s Senate version has received significant partisan support with 36 Republicans signed on. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., one of the co-sponsors, wrote an editorial last month in opposition of “damaging” regulations that target heavy-duty trucks.

“(A) rule from the EPA would threaten small trucking companies with up to $8,300 in additional costs per truck,” Thune wrote. “A similar rule over a decade ago pushed many smaller trucking companies out of business. This would be problematic at any time but is especially concerning amid supply-chain problems nationwide and sustained inflation.”

Fischer contends that the EPA rule could actually have a negative effect on the climate.

“(The high cost of the new trucks) means that many truckers will choose to keep their old heavy-duty vehicles, which have higher rates of emissions, instead of buying vehicles that are both affordable and more climate-conscious,” Fischer said. “During a period of high inflation and supply chain disruptions, the last thing this country needs is more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association also has spoken out against the EPA rule.

“If small-business truckers can’t afford the new, compliant trucks, they’re going to stay with older, less efficient trucks, or leave the industry entirely,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said. “Once again, EPA has largely ignored the warnings and concerns raised by truckers in this latest rule.”

The EPA final rule technically took effect on March 27, but the standards wouldn’t apply until the model year 2027 trucks are introduced. LL