WASHINGTON — Congress on Tuesday approved a joint resolution overturning a Biden administration rule that truckers say will be too costly for drivers and their customers — but President Joe Biden is expected to veto the resolution.
The resolution, approved by the U.S. Senate in April, repeals the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions regulation that went into effect in March that severely limits nitrogen oxide (NOx) and other ground-level pollution from heavy duty truck engines, beginning in model year 2027.
EPA estimates that by 2045, the rule will result in $29 billion in annual net benefits, including costs associated with fewer hospital admissions related to cardiovascular complications and millions fewer cases of asthma symptoms and allergies.
At the same time, EPA acknowledged that equipment needed to meet the new restrictions would increase costs to truckers by $8,304 per long-haul single unit truck.
“Truckers care about clean air as much as anyone else, but are also on the front lines of the supply chain with over 70% of America’s freight relying exclusively on trucking,” said Todd Spencer, President and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, commenting on the resolution vote.
“Mandating equipment that has historically led to major engine reliability issues under an unrealistic timeline will have devastating effects on the reliability of America’s supply chain and ultimately on the cost and availability of consumer goods.”
OOIDA stated that the regulation will be “challenging to implement and make new, compliant trucks cost-prohibitive.”
“By increasing the cost of a new truck, the regulation actually incentivizes keeping older, higher-emitting trucks in service longer. It would also likely force many ‘mom and pop’ commercial trucking operations out of business while encouraging larger trucking operations to pass these higher costs onto consumers.”
However, during the floor debate on the resolution, House Democrats pointed out that, considering there were no lawsuits filed against EPA’s final rule, the vote to overturn it was merely a “last-ditch effort” to abandon regulations that would curb dangerous air pollution.
“It unravels the progress we’ve made, forces communities to breathe polluted air and puts them on a path to an unlivable future,” warned Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif.
Biden has 10 days to sign or veto the bill, with a veto returning the legislation to Congress, usually with a message explaining his rationale. His planned veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House. Biden has vetoed just two previous bills during his presidency, both in 2023.
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