As part of its attempts to substantially reduce emissions that contribute to global warming and improve air quality in high-traffic regions like ports on the coast, California’s plan to phase out a wide range of diesel-powered trucks was given the go light by the Biden administration on Friday.
The ruling of the U.S. Truck manufacturers will be required to sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles in California over the next couple of decades. This is permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because California has some of the worst air pollution in the nation.
The regulation covers a wide variety of vehicles, from box trucks and semitrailers to large passenger pickups.
“Under the Clean Air Act, California has longstanding authority to address pollution from cars and trucks. Today’s announcement allows the state to take additional steps in reducing their transportation emissions through these new regulatory actions,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan, in a statement.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has praised the state’s initiative in adopting stringent regulations for auto emissions.
“We’re leading the charge to get dirty trucks and buses – the most polluting vehicles – off our streets, and other states and countries are lining up to follow our lead,” the Democrat said in a statement.
Tailpipe emissions limits for cars, trucks, and other vehicles are normally regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but California has historically been allowed waivers to set tougher rules. The office of Newsom has announced that eight additional states are planning to adopt California’s truck rules.
Attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia and New York City wrote to the EPA last year requesting that the agency adopt California’s truck rules. About half of the state’s total GHG emissions come from the automobile industry.
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Newsom has taken the first steps toward a 2035 ban on the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles. No action on the regulations from the EPA. The new regulations for vehicles are meant for manufacturers and fleet owners. Transport and shuttle services provided by companies with 50 or more trucks will be subject to state reporting requirements.
Starting in 2024, automakers will be required to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles they sell. By 2035, zero-emission trucks will need to account for 40%-75% of sales, depending on the truck category. The news broke at the same time that campaigners were lobbying for stricter limits on emissions from vehicles’ tailpipes in other states and on the federal level.
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice activist Jan Victor Andasan said, “We don’t just fight for California, we fight for all of the communities.” The city of Los Angeles is the second most populous in the United States and is notorious for its heavy traffic and unhealthy levels of air pollution, both of which the group is working to improve.
To discuss national legislation to restrict emissions from trucks and other vehicles, Andasan recently met with EPA officials along with other environmental activists from throughout the country who are part of the Moving Ahead Network, a 50-member group located at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
Yet, several professionals in the trucking sector worry that the transition would be too expensive and time-consuming for truck drivers and businesses.
“The state and federal regulators collaborating on this unrealistic patchwork of regulations have no grasp on the real costs of designing, building, manufacturing and operating the trucks that deliver their groceries, clothes and goods,” said Chris Spear, president of the American Trucking Association, in a statement.
“They will certainly feel the pain when these fanciful projections lead to catastrophic disruptions well beyond California’s borders,” he added. The government is increasing the stringency of its emission rules for large trucks. Smog-causing nitrogen oxide pollution will be reduced by more than 80 percent by 2027 thanks to new EPA regulations.
This year, the agency plans to propose new regulations on GHG emissions. The agency believes that the new regulations and government funding will result in electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks carrying the majority of the nation’s freight with no emissions.
Anderson, an activist in California, and Brenda Huerta Soto, an organizer with the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice, are concerned about the effects of vehicle pollution on communities with a disproportionate number of people of color located close to major ports in Los Angeles, Oakland, and other cities, as well as in warehouse-dense areas of the state’s interior.
Huerta Soto lives and works in the Inland Empire of Southern California, a major trucking hub. She added that the noise, odor, and pollution from the many cars, trucks, and trains passing through the neighborhood are a hardship for the locals.
She argued that the transition to zero-emission automobiles was feasible because “we have the technology and we have the money.” Tom Krisher in Detroit and Matthew Daly in Washington, D.C., both from the Associated Press, wrote parts of this story.
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