WASHINGTON » The Biden administration on Monday proposed strict new limits on pollution from buses, delivery vans, tractor-trailers and other heavy trucks — the first time in more than 20 years that tailpipe standards have been tightened for the biggest polluters on the road.
The new draft rule from the Environmental Protection Agency would require heavy-duty trucks to reduce emissions of nitrogen dioxide by 90% by 2031. Nitrogen dioxide is linked to lung cancer, heart disease and premature death.
The EPA also announced plans to slightly tighten truck emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that is driving climate change. The new rules for nitrogen oxide pollution would apply to trucks beginning with the model year 2027, while the carbon dioxide rules would apply to trucks starting with the model year 2024.
The truck pollution rule is the latest in a series of new policies under President Joe Biden, who is seeking to reduce the emissions that are dangerously warming the planet and rebuild environmental standards that had been weakened by President Donald Trump.
Vice President Kamala Harris announced the proposal, along with a suite of other federal clean transportation actions, including the expenditure of $5.5 billion to help states purchase low or zeroemission transit buses, and $17 million to replace diesel school buses with electric versions in underserved communities.
Late last year, the EPA tightened standards on auto pollution and announced new rules governing methane, a climate-warming gas that leaks from oil and gas wells. This year, the agency is expected to roll out new restrictions on greenhouse gases and on industrial soot released by power plants.
The administration is portraying the truck rule announced Monday as central to Biden’s agenda of environmental justice.
“Seventy-two million people are estimated to live near truck freight routes in America, and they are more likely to be people of color and those with lower incomes,” the EPA administrator, Michael S. Regan, said.
“These new standards will drastically cut dangerous pollution by harnessing recent advancements in vehicle technologies from across the trucking industry as it advances toward a zero-emissions transportation future.”
The new limits would prevent up to 2,100 premature deaths, 6,700 hospital admissions and emergency department visits, 18,000 cases of asthma in children, 78,000 lost days of work and 1.1 million lost days of school by the year 2045, according to EPA estimates.
Truckers and manufacturers say the rule is too stringent and costly.
Jed Mandel, president of the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, an industry group, said, “We’re worried about the cost. There is a potential of adverse impacts on the economy and jobs. Nobody wants to see union jobs laid off. Regular lunch-pail, blue collar workers.”
— © The New York Times Co.