Proposed EPA Truck Pollution Standard Falls Short of What’s Needed for Healthier, Safer Future

Statement by Johanna Chao Kreilick, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Mar 7, 2022

WASHINGTON (March 7, 2022)—Today, the White House unveiled important investments in zero-emission transit and school buses, alongside the long-awaited U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rule limiting pollution from heavy duty trucks. This pollution is an urgent issue that requires swift action—but the administration’s proposal doesn’t go far enough to protect communities harmed by truck pollution or advance zero-emission truck technology, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Johanna Chao Kreilick, president of UCS.

“The science is clear. Heavy-duty trucks are one of the biggest sources of health-harming air pollution, and the burden of this pollution falls hardest on communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. The Administration is right to be focusing on reducing pollution from diesel trucks. Truck emissions are a matter of life and death, particularly for communities along trucking corridors, near warehouses, and surrounding ports. It is critical that this new rule for trucks is at least as protective as the existing California truck rule to protect public health and advance justice. However, the agency is under pressure from the truck manufacturers to finalize a much weaker rule, which will harm communities for decades to come.

“California and several other states are leading the way, demonstrating the feasibility of cutting pollution from diesel trucks while at the same time advancing toward a zero-emission future. Even the most stringent alternative in the proposed federal NOx standards lags state-level standards, delivering insufficient pollution emission reductions and failing to require zero-emission truck adoption. The proposal also will revisit the existing greenhouse gas standards for trucks sold in 2027-2029. Unfortunately, the proposed greenhouse gas rule does the bare minimum to acknowledge zero-emission trucks. The investments in zero-emissions buses, port equipment, and research and development announced today are an important step on the path to cleaner transportation. But these actions must be complemented by strong standards that accelerate deployment of electric trucks.

“We have the technology today to put us on a path to zeroing out truck pollution. Environmental justice advocates and people living in freight-impacted neighborhoods have been calling for EPA to accelerate electrification and clean up the air. It’s time for EPA to listen and to act.

“Unfortunately, the truck industry has been pushing aggressively for weak regulations. It is imperative that the public stays active and engaged in this process to counter industry lobbying. The administration must follow the science and keep their commitment to environmental justice communities, and deliver a final rule that moves us toward the cleaner, healthier transportation system we all need.”