Truck makers sue to keep polluting
On the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) and their member companies filed a lawsuit to delay lifesaving California clean truck regulations: the Heavy-Duty Omnibus (HDO) rule. .
The HDO rule significantly reduces air pollution from new diesel vehicles by reducing allowable nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from heavy-duty trucks by approximately 75% below current standards from 2024 and by 90% in 2027. NOx emissions are hazardous to public health in themselves and as precursors to ground-level ozone, or smog. In addition to cleaning up NOx, the HDO rule aims to institutionalize fine particulate (soot) pollution controls and prevent rollbacks. These reductions total $36 billion in California-wide health benefits from 3,900 premature deaths averted and 3,150 hospitalizations by 2050.
The lawsuit filed by the EMA alleges that the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) adoption of the HDO rule violated a provision of the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) that requires a four years for the implementation of emissions standards on new trucks. , despite the fact that California has historically adopted standards for heavy-duty engines under its federal Clean Air Act waiver authority that have never been subject to the CAA’s four-year lag provision.
The lawsuit is part of a larger trend where the EMA is trying to oppose and delay critical clean truck emission standards. For example, the EMA vigorously fought the adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule in California and other states, which would reduce harmful air pollution by requiring manufacturers to sell increasing numbers of average zero-emission trucks. and heavy (MHD). vehicles (ZEV).
Due to the significant public health, environmental, and economic benefits of the HDO and ACT rules, six states have adopted the ACT rule, three have adopted the HDO rule, and more are in the process of doing so this year and the next.
Importantly, these rules target air pollution emissions that disproportionately harm frontline communities living in and around transportation infrastructure such as ports, warehouses and highways. And those communities are mostly low-income and color communities.
Hypocrisy or ignorance? Neither is an excuse.
The EMA lawsuit is a direct attack on our communities, our lungs and the environment. It’s also a new low for the EMA, a trade association made up of vehicle and engine manufacturers who have made public statements about their desire to clean up pollution from vehicles. A full list can be found here, but some highlights of the most influential members are below.
“We are investing in a range of solutions to lead the industry on the path to a zero-emissions future. We are taking action today to turn our 2050 goals into real-world products and applications. – Tom Linebarger, President and CEO, Cummins Inc.
“We are now focused on bringing revolutionary electric vehicles to the many, not the few. It’s about creating good jobs that support American families, a super-efficient, carbon-neutral manufacturing system, and a growing business that delivers value to communities, dealers and shareholders. – Jim Farley, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company
“Stellantis will be the industry champion in climate change mitigation, becoming net zero carbon by 2038, with a 50% reduction by 2030. Playing a leadership role in decarbonization, as well as a decisive step forward in the circular economy, is our contribution to a sustainable future. – Carlos Tavares, CEO, Stellantis
“Volvo Trucks is committed to leading the commercial transport industry towards more sustainable solutions by advancing electromobility. We will continue to invest and drive the development of this technology, both globally and right here in North America. – Peter Voorhoeve, President, Volvo Trucks North America
Do they know that the EMA is fighting on their behalf to undermine the future they claim to seek? If so, they should be ashamed. If not, these companies should get the EMA to drop the lawsuit.
A self-destructive lawsuit that will harm manufacturers.
The lawsuit is also doomed if truck engine makers are serious about cleaning up, because adopting these fundamental emission standards unlocks additional policies and resources to help manufacturers transition to fuel-efficient vehicles. zero emissions.
In addition to the millions of public dollars that California allocates to help manufacturers sell their vehicles, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) – the agency EMA is currently suing – is developing a new standard called the Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) rule that would require some fleets to purchase an increasing number of ZEVs. The ACF rule is demand-side regulation that directly benefits manufacturers’ bottom lines. Additionally, in other states that have adopted the rules, such as New Jersey, having a clear regulatory timeline unlocks additional charging infrastructure for medium and heavy vehicles that will directly help manufacturers sell their products.
States must continue to push for maximum reductions in transport pollution.
This lawsuit is proof that, regardless of public statements, truck manufacturers will never clean house unless compelled to by vehicle emission standards. For states that want to eliminate pollution from trucks to protect public health and the environment, adopting the ACT and HDO rules remains the best way to accomplish this.