Sen. Fischer leads charge to overturn EPA rule on heavy-duty trucks

February 9, 2023

Mark Schremmer


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

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.

Fischer introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the rulemaking. Thirty-three co-sponsors have already signed on.

“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.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports the effort.

“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 over-ambitious 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