EPA? Cleaner Truck Initiative? Pollution? Through all the new policies and voices, truck drivers and individuals in the transportation industry are feeling the strain of new regulations on their equipment.
Poor air quality from traffic can take a toll on the health and wellness of everyone. Currently, pollution from heavy duty trucks is just one issue to keep an eye on. On November 13th, the Environmental Protection Agency launched the Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI) in attempts to better air quality.
The Cleaner Truck Initiative
Acting Admin of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, spoke about the impact that the trucks will have.
“The Cleaner Trucks Initiative will help modernize heavy-duty truck engines …. providing cleaner air for all Americans” Wheeler said. “The U.S. has made major reductions in NOx emissions, but it’s been nearly 20 years since EPA updated these standards. Through rule-making and a comprehensive review of existing requirements, we will capitalize on these gains and new technologies to ensure our heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation.”
So, what does all that mean? It means stricter regulations on nitrogen oxides being released into the air, some of the emissions that cause smog that triggers asthma and lowers the quality of air we are breathing. Long term exposure to poor air quality can cause poor health and disease.
The initiative also involves deregulating. Wheeler promised to get rid of trucking regulations that do more harm than good and cost the industry a combined total of 1.6 billion dollars. However, the exact details of the plan are somewhat vague.
Similarly, emission requirements for glider vehicles are getting repealed. The Cleaner Truck Initiative does not apply to these vehicles, therefore they’re not subject to the same policies.
In contrast, other big rigs will get no such passes. President of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, Jed Mandel, is behind the move. He says the Cleaner Truck Initiative gives the chance to improve how big rig emissions are overseen. The focus will be less assessment in labs and more on how the perform in the actual real world.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which has jurisdiction over the Los Angeles area, wants NOx emissions to go down as much as 90 percent. The EPA has agreed, and rules are going into effect to try to make this change.
What This Means for Drivers:
Current and future regulations will put stress on semi truck drivers who have older vehicles or engines not up to increasing standards. In addition, the trucking industry is not one of cheap equipment, cheap repairs, or cheap updates. If the changes don’t take in the needs of those operating in the transportation industry as well as the needs for the environment, we could be looking at further injury to an already limited and shrinking workforce. The importance of having those knowledgeable about the trucking industry in control of regulating it has never been more apparent.
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