The House this week passed a funding bill that includes language to block enforcement of greenhouse gas regulations as they pertain to heavy-duty trailers.
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) joined Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) in offering the amendment to the EPA’s annual funding bill. It passed by voice vote.
“The Obama Administration’s EPA defied logic in declaring that truck trailers are self-propelled vehicles, and in doing so, gave itself the power to regulate them,” Griffith said in a statement. “This move was, in my opinion, clearly illegal, and by driving up the cost of trailers it threatens jobs. For example, Utility Trailer, a trailer manufacturer which employs nearly 2,000 in the Ninth District, would be directly impacted by the rule.”
Griffiths referred to the “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles--Phase 2,” which took effect in January 2017. In addition to regulating truck emissions, the rule deemed trailers an integral part of the vehicle, and set standards to drive the adoption of aerodynamic devices and more efficient tires.
Loudermilk, introducing the amendment on the House floor, said no “reasonable person” would consider a trailer to be a self-propelled vehicle.
“This blanket policy, which has resulted from regulatory overreach, is not only costly to consumers, but, in some cases, is counterproductive to the Agency's own mission of promoting clear, clean air policies and practices,” said Loudermilk.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) spoke against the amendment.
“This rule promotes a generation of cleaner, more fuel efficient trucks. President Obama was right when he said, ‘We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it,’” McCollum said. “This amendment is harmful, and I urge my colleagues to reject it.”
The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) has petitioned EPA to reconsider the rule, arguing that trailers should not be subject to the emissions standards. That review is pending, and TTMA President Jeff Sims reports that an update on agency's review is expected within two weeks.
“We are grateful for the support of Congressmen Griffith and Loudermilk and the others who supported amendment,” Sims told Trailer-Body Builders. “As we continue to wait on the EPA to remove the trailer portions from the rulemaking, this is a big plus.”
Gwendolyn Brown, president of the National Trailer Dealers Association, also contends the exclusion is “logical, considering that trailers do not emit anything.”
“Most fleets are already using products to make their trailers more fuel efficient when there is a proven payback that can be achieved by adding such additional equipment,” Brown said. “However, for fleets to be forced to add additional equipment and expense just for the sake of doing so has no merit. Not to mention the additional expense and burden it puts on trailer manufacturers.”
The EPA funding bill now goes to the Senate.