One day after green groups file lawsuit, EPA is ordered to revert back to Obama-era glider policy

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Updated Jul 19, 2018

Reversing a decision made less than two weeks ago by the Environmental Protection Agency, a federal court on Wednesday ruled to temporarily block a July 6 decision by the EPA to not enforce Obama-era emissions standards placed on glider kit trucks. The court’s temporary injunction against the EPA’s move means that glider kit builders will be capped at making and selling just 300 trucks annually until the the court lifts its injunction or the EPA finalizes a rule to repeal emissions regs on glider kits.

A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals in the D.C. Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of a motion filed by a coalition of environmental activists groups, who sued the EPA over its July 6 announcement that it would not enforce the 300-truck cap put in place in 2016 by the EPA under President Obama.

The EPA’s policy change was a major win for glider kit makers, like Fitzgerald Glider Kits, who have fought the emissions regulations in recent years. However, a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Center for Biological Diversity challenged the policy change. The D.C. Appellate Court on Wednesday sided with the environmental groups, saying it would put a stay on the EPA’s enforcement discretion “pending further order of the court.”

EPA is working on a rule to rescind the Obama-era regulations and permanently remove the 300-truck cap, but the rule has been slow to come to fruition. The EPA proposed the rule in August of last year, but the regulations took effect January 1 of this year, meaning glider kit makers were left to comply with the 300-truck cap. The EPA’s July 6 decision to not enforce that cap was meant to give the EPA more time to finalize the rule and, in the meantime, allow glider kit makers to produce and sell as many gliders as they sold in 2017.

Glider kits are new truck bodies and chassis that are equipped with older, remanufactured engines and transmissions. They had seen strong growth in sales since 2008, given their lack of modern emissions systems. The EPA sought to stymie that growth with its 2016 Phase 2 rule, claiming that gliders produced an outsized share of emissions of greenhouse gases and particulate matter relative to their share of total truck sales each year.