Griffith Requests Review of Truck Trailer Regulations
Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA), along with Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), led a letter to the new Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt. The letter details concerns about the inclusion of truck trailers in a rule imposing increased emission standards for medium and heavy duty trucks finalized by the Obama Administration last October.
The rule, entitled Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium-and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles – Phase 2 (GHGP2), illegally extends the authority given to the EPA under the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act gives EPA the ability to regulate “self-propelled vehicles”, however the EPA included trailers, which do not have an engine, produce emissions, or have the ability to move under their own power.
The engineering technology available that can make trailers more efficient only provides gains when traveling at highway speeds. If a tractor-trailer is mostly used on roads at a lesser speed, the engineering updates would not increase efficiency, but instead would be a pointless cost and burden.
In addition, the engineering updates required to meet the standards add weight to the trailer, meaning the trailers may have to carry less cargo to remain in compliance with Gross Vehicle Weight laws. This would result in more vehicles on the road. More vehicles would in fact result in more emissions, as well as contribute to a higher number of accidents and create roads that are less safe for Americans.
Congressman Griffith said, “The EPA spent the last eight years overreaching their authority and imposing costly regulations onto American workers and companies. In the case of this rule, the Clean Air Act language is clear and creating new requirements for trailers is an abuse of EPA’s power under the law. The EPA cannot independently reinterpret parts of a law that are inconvenient for its own purposes.”
“I hope Administrator Pruitt will review the rule and address the illegal, illogical, and expensive burden it places on the truck trailer and truck trailer-related industries, including those located in Southwest Virginia.”
The Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company Vice President Engineering & Product Development, Jeffrey Bennett, said, “Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company supports Representative Griffith’s efforts to reign in the EPA’s overreaching decision to regulate semi-trailers. Utility Trailer is the country’s leading manufacturer of refrigerated trailers and the nation’s third largest trailer producer, with two factories in Representative Griffith’s 9th Congressional District employing over 1,850 hard-working men and women. Aside from lacking the legal authority to regulate semi-trailers, the EPA’s decision will adversely affect those very businesses that purchase semi-trailers to bring products to consumers throughout the country. The EPA's one-size-fits-all regulations for a highly diverse industry are not only based on generalizations, and false assumptions, but they also fail to provide any true net benefits that are verifiable in the real world, everyday trailer use of Utility’s customers. Representative Griffith has recognized these faults with the EPA’s unjustified actions, and Utility Trailer applauds Representative Griffith for his efforts.”
The Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association said, “The truck trailer manufacturing industry employs tens of thousands of hardworking Americans across the country, many of them in districts like Congressman Griffith’s. All along, we have contended that EPA did not have the legal authority to regulate trailer manufacturing companies in the way it claimed it did. We also showed EPA research demonstrating the rule would unnecessarily worsen air pollution, while leading to an increase in traffic deaths. But EPA was so eager to do a rulemaking that it wouldn’t listen to us. Representative Griffith quickly understood how the rule wouldn’t help the environment while impacting a great number of businesses, many of which are family-run and are often small businesses. He and his staff immediately went to work, fighting against this overreach by the federal government. The TTMA is glad to express its appreciation to the Congressman and his staff.”
The Clean Air Act grants EPA the ability to regulate “air pollutant from any class or classes of new motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines” (42 USC 7521(a)). The Clean Air Act states that, “The term ‘motor vehicle’ is defined as any self-propelled vehicle designed for transporting persons or property on a street or highway.” (42 USC 7550(2))
The letter to Administrator Pruitt can be read here.