Science Group Calls on U.S. EPA to Empower States to Clean Up Trucks

Statement by Don Anair, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jun 27, 2022

Washington (June 27, 2022)—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a virtual public hearing on Wednesday to consider whether to allow California and other states to implement strong clean truck standards.

The California Air Resources Board requested waivers from the EPA under the Clean Air Act to enforce recently adopted emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks, including the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) and Low NOx Heavy-Duty Omnibus regulations. Currently, six states that represent more than 20 percent of the medium- and heavy-duty truck market—California, Oregon, Washington, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts—have adopted the ACT rule and more are considering it.

Below is a statement by Don Anair, research and deputy director of the Clean Transportation Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“These waivers are an important tool to advance cleaner transportation and protect public health. The EPA should swiftly grant them to ensure California and other states that adopt its standards can reduce heavy-duty truck pollution and improve air quality in communities living with unhealthy levels of pollution.

“Heavy-duty vehicles are the single largest source of smog-forming nitrogen oxides in California and emit nearly 40 percent of the state’s diesel particulate matter despite making up just 7 percent of all vehicles in California.

States are taking the lead in zero-emission, electric truck adoption, recognizing that toxic diesel exhaust adversely affects tens of millions of people living in and around ports, warehouses and freeways—disproportionately low-income and communities of color.

“Cleaning up heavy-duty trucks that produce heat-trapping emissions is also one of the most important ways we can reduce the risks of climate change. With the Biden administration having repeatedly promised to fight climate change and promote environmental justice, fully approving these state waivers for strong heavy-duty truck rules will help advance those goals. It’s an opportunity to keep their promise that they must not let pass.”

Two UCS senior vehicle analysts—Dave Cooke and Sam Wilson—will testify in support of California’s clean truck standards at the June 29 hearing.