Sen. Fischer calls EPA truck mandate ‘excessive’

March 3, 2023

Mark Schremmer


Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., is continuing the fight to stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent emission mandate for heavy-duty trucks.

During a speech presented on the Senate Floor this week, Fischer called the rule “excessive” and said that it would “hurt both the transportation sector and consumers at large.”

The EPA’s final rule, which was announced by the agency in December, is set to take effect on March 27. The rule will impose strict clean air standards for heavy-duty trucks beginning with model year 2027. In February, Fischer introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the rulemaking. Thirty-four co-sponsors have signed on.

“This aggressive EPA rule will hit mom-and-pop operations the hardest,” Fischer said. “For trucks to be compliant with the new overregulation, it will be cost-prohibitive for small-business owners.”

Fischer said that the technology required from this rule will cost an estimated range of $2,500 to $8,500 per vehicle.

“This 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 opposes 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.”

As part of Fischer’s news release in support of the bill, she used Danny Schnautz, president of Clark Freight Lines in Pasadena, Texas, as an example of how stringent regulations can affect real truckers.

“The prior years of overambitious emission standards have already created unreliable equipment for many years and even driven one of the primary engine manufacturers out of the on-road industry,” said Schnautz, who also is an OOIDA board member. “These ongoing emission systems failures are devastating.”

OOIDA has long argued that the technology shouldn’t be mandated. The Association contends that once the equipment is proven to work properly and reduce costs, motor carriers will line up to purchase the new trucks.

In April, OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh participated in a public hearing about the EPA proposal.

“My 2012 truck with all the latest EPA compliant technology was in the shop for repairs more than the other four trucks I owned prior to this one combined,” Pugh said. “In a period of 250,000 miles, or two and a half years, I had to have the entire DPF system completely replaced at a cost of $6,000 each time.” LL