Congress Votes for EPA Rollback
On Tuesday May 23rd, the House of Representatives voted 221 to 203 in favor of revoking the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently listed Heavy Duty Truck Rule. With the Senate recently voting similarly, albeit with a slimmer majority, it now goes across Joe Biden’s desk.
Recently, the EPA has listed two standards, one for 2027 and another for 2032.
As with all things that have a political slant, there was much discussion from both sides. Rep. Michael Burgess, a Republican from Texas, said that these are “onerous and expensive new regulations that will have a devastating effect upon their [truckers’] livelihoods.” In contrast, Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández, a Democrat from New Mexico, said “We must keep our air clean. The number of deaths and asthma in children that would not survive and be hurt if this rule goes into effect would be horrible, and I need to tell you that each child who would not be able to breathe because of the air polluted [sic] is the child that I think about when I vote on this bill…”
Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) said that the tightening of standards on newer trucks will create a perverse incentive that motivates people to hold on to their current trucks for longer, resulting in the opposite effect intended. ”They’re just going to keep driving those trucks until they drive the tires off of them.”
With regulations generally grandfathering older vehicles and allowing them to run until they are replaced, this may very well just happen unless the EPA regulations apply retroactively.
Because of how our system of government works, Joe Biden may opt to veto the bill instead of signing it, which is what he threatened to do should the vote pass. Because Congress can override the veto with a supermajority, this means that effectively the president’s vote is worth 16 Senate and 72 House votes.
The likely outcome for all of this is that Biden will veto it and Congress will be unable to gather a supermajority. The best chance for the trucking industry to defeat this regulation before it becomes official in 2027 and beyond is to campaign for a different president as a result of the upcoming 2024 election. Otherwise, it looks like trucks are going to become a little more expensive in the upcoming decade.
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