Environmentalist groups suing EPA over repeal of Obama-era glider policy

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Updated Jul 21, 2018

Environmentalist groups filed a lawsuit today against the EPA regarding the last-minute policy change enacted by outgoing head Scott Pruitt to cease enforcing glider truck requirements which began under the Obama administration.

The Sierra Club announced that it’s being joined by the Environmental Defense Fund and Center for Biological Diversity in a lawsuit filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C Circuit after they say their request to the EPA to revert back to the former policy was met with no response.

The suit comes just as members of the U.S. House have asked the EPA to provide them with “all documents and communication” related to a late 2017 study used to promote regulating emissions of glider kit trucks. The request appears to be the beginning of a probe by Congress into alleged improper contact between EPA staffers and employees at Volvo Trucks. Volvo, which owns Mack, has lobbied against the repeal of the glider emissions restrictions, as have Cummins and Daimler, according to overdriveonline.com.

Sierra Club Chief Climate Counsel Joanne Spalding was quick to defend former glider policy created under Obama which she believes greatly reduced health risks brought on by older diesel technology installed in glider trucks. She contends that used engines in gliders can emit as much as 40 times the pollution of modern engines.

“The EPA’s decision to halt the enforcement of this rule endangers the health and safety of American families and our climate,” Spalding said in a statement released today.

In 2016, the EPA acting under the Obama administration slashed glider production from roughly 10,000 total trucks per year to 300 trucks per year per OEM. Just before leaving office earlier this month, former EPA head Scott Pruitt rescinded that policy believing that the agency was wrong to regulate glider trucks as new trucks.

Glider trucks are classified as trucks with new bodies that have been paired up with older, remanufactured transmissions and engines that are not equipped with exhaust gas recirculation and after-treatment systems.