Fighting Back: Truckers Not Fans of New EPA Regulations

Posted: Jan 06, 2012 3:42 PM

If you live in a big city, you've probably taken your car in to get some kind of emissions test, either occasionally or annually. If you don't pass the test, you have to spend lots of money to fix your car in order to meet the emissions requirement. Now, imagine being a cross country truck driver and having to comply with multiple new EPA emissions standards.

For the first time, the federal government is regulating big-rigs, RV's, and tractor-trailers in much the same way it's held car makers to rigorous fuel efficiency standards for decades. But a group of California truckers contends the regulations will drive them right out of business -- and has filed suit to block them.

The Environmental Protection Agency is ordering large trucks and buses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 20 percent and overhaul engine design starting with models built in 2014. Most operators will need to spend thousands upgrading their rigs or buying new vehicles, with prices starting at $50,000 and going up from there, depending on the model.

Not surprisingly, leaders of the American Trucking Association are in favor of the regulations, but small independent truck drivers know the new regulations will be expensive and time consuming.

"With the cost of the new equipment that they're requiring, and the oversight of the government in every part of my business, I can't afford to be in business," Sacramento trucker Robert McClernon he claimed.

So what are some truckers doing to avoid the new and unnecessary regulations? Suing the Obama administration.

McClernon is among a group of California trucking outfits challenging the Obama administration in federal court. The lawsuit claims the EPA failed to properly submit the regulations to a blue ribbon panel called the Science Advisory Board, as is required. The SAB is a group of top scientists who've been empowered by federal law to review new regulations that the EPA proposes to issue under the Clean Air Act.