Equipment

Senators, Former EPA Chiefs Urge Agency to Drop Glider Reg Repeal

March 13, 2018, by Deborah Lockridge

Some fleets use glider kits to get the benefits of the latest aerodynamic trucks with less-troublesome pre-emissions-regs engines. Photo: Deborah Lockridge
Some fleets use glider kits to get the benefits of the latest aerodynamic trucks with less-troublesome pre-emissions-regs engines. Photo: Deborah Lockridge

Two Democratic senators who oversee environmental issues sent a letter on March 12 to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, urging him to reverse his November 2017 proposal to repeal air emission standards for glider kits.

EPA’s November proposal would eliminate provisions affecting glider kits within the Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards. The Phase 2 rules as written would allow glider kits only for their original purpose, which was seen as reclaiming powertrains from wrecked trucks and reusing them in new bodies and chassis. Increasingly, they are being used to avoid using more costly and repair-prone cleaner-emissions engines.

Calling them “zombie trucks,” Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees EPA, cited adverse health effects and faulty research in their call to withdraw the rule.

In addition, two former EPA Administrators, Carol Browner and Christine Todd Whitman, who served under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, respectively, sent a letter to Administrator Pruitt expressing deep concerns over EPA’s failure to use the best science available in its decision to repeal the final glider regulations.

Pollution and Politics

The Carper-Udall letter noted that “according to internal agency research not released until after EPA published this proposal, a new 2017 glider kit can emit up to 450 times the particulate matter (PM) pollution and up to 43 times the nitrous oxide (NOx) pollution of model year 2014 and 2015 trucks. Other EPA analyses concluded that, if left unregulated, glider vehicle emissions could prematurely kill thousands of people, and increase instance of lung cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease, and severe asthma attacks. We are also deeply troubled that this proposal, which appears to largely benefit a single company, was influenced by an industry-funded ‘study' that is currently the subject of an official investigation into research misconduct for failing to adhere to basic scientific standards.”

The proposal to withdraw the regulation has drawn criticism from a number of fronts, from environmental groups to truck and engine makers.

Just last month, Tennessee Technical University asked the EPA to withhold any use or reference to a controversial study the university conducted on the environmental impact of glider kit vehicles until it has fully investigated the validity of the study's results.

Browner and Whitman note in their letter, "Not only does it appear that the Tennessee Tech study failed to follow proper research protocol, the conclusions of the study are contrary to a well-established understanding of the pollution from older diesel engines."

The senators' letter notes that no one from the glider industry challenged the final GHG provisions in court, yet in May of last year, Pruitt “personally met with representatives of Fitzgerald Glider Kits… the self-proclaimed, ‘largest glider kit dealer in the country’ and a political supporter of President Trump.’" Two months after that meeting, Fitzgerald and two other glider kit dealers petitioned the EPA seeking reconsideration of the glider requirements.

In addition to asking Pruitt to withdraw this “dangerous, legally questionable proposal immediately,” the letter requests non-redacted copies of documents relating to EPA scientific analyses and emissions testing, correspondence between EPA representatives and the glider kit dealers asking for the repeal, and documents related to the controversial Tennessee Tech study on glider vehicle emissions.

It also asks questions regarding the EPA’s authority to regulate glider kits. Part of the argument in favor of repealing the glider kit part of the GHG regulation has been that glider kits may not be “new motor vehicles” as defined by the Environmental Protection Act and thus not legally subject to EPA regulations.

The letter asks for a response no later than April 2.

Comments

  1. 1. Rich Pocsi [ March 13, 2018 @ 12:54PM ]

    AREN'T THESE THE SAME PEOPLE ON 9/11 SAID THAT" THE AIR WAS FINE". A COUPLE OF DIESEL MOTORS CERTAINLY CAN'T DO THAT MUCH DAMAGE. TO KILL THOUSANDS

  2. 2. Severts Truckin [ March 13, 2018 @ 07:20PM ]

    this eld rule has put this trucking co out of business, hours of service wont work , my drivers sit at produce houses for 10 -15 hours within for product, all my drivers are in the sleeper , they say they are on duty, this is coming from someone who has never drove a truck what a foolish law , it got me I'm done Mike Severt

  3. 3. Yote Anders [ March 14, 2018 @ 06:14AM ]

    This is a letter written by rich men - " they are being used to avoid using more costly and repair-prone cleaner-emissions engines." How many little businesses have been put into bankruptcy because these cleaner engines melt?
    "Other EPA analyses concluded that, if left unregulated, glider vehicle emissions could prematurely kill thousands of people, and increase instance of lung cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease, and severe asthma attacks" Where is their proof a single person has died because of a glider kit? these are hysterical facts based in fantasy.
    and lastly "the conclusions of the study are contrary to a well-established understanding of the pollution from older diesel engines." Well established "understanding" where no one questioned who paid for the study or what
    outcome was encouraged. Senators take note: NO ONE TRUSTS YOU OR YOUR STUDIES!!!! you have squandered all your capitol with the average hard working tax paying citizen, and you are too ignorant to recognize it!

  4. 4. Ted Nielsen [ March 14, 2018 @ 06:24AM ]

    It is sad, and also hilarious, I have worked for OEM's previously, they say all is better with the new emissions, I have also been told they would recoup their costs no matter what. Perhaps to a slight degree it may be better? When it requires excess fuel to make the emissions function, the mileage is dropped by documented amounts, requiring more fuel to be used, the downtime is up, by quite a large number. More emissions are honestly being put into our air? Hmmm, the honest truth, they do not wish us to know, after the Consent Decree, all the costs will be put to the public, no two ways around it. I do not have any problem with the glider kits as the laws are currently written, same as always, the willing, led by the unknowing are being dragged along, sigh. Read for yourselves, study, knowledge is power, We appear to be losing it? Thank you.

  5. 5. don macallister [ March 14, 2018 @ 06:37AM ]

    Stomp Motors mission is to help hard pressed truckers transition to 70% lower cost per mile electric semis as soon as possible. Minus any kind of expensive automated driving tech that may be trying to steal drivers jobs. Thank you!

  6. 6. Kenny Scott [ March 14, 2018 @ 08:41AM ]

    The former Epa chiefs shove through regulations that clearly the engine OEMs where not ready for which cause me to to change my retirement plans because the new 2012 W900 550 Cummins with emissions I bought for my last truck after working 45 years was junk. Thousands of dollars lost on my part plus downtime , so bad KW bought it back because they New I would have a lawsuit. I am running a glider now, no issues and 1 mile plus better fuel mileage. You cannot tell me with all the extra cleaning, filters,parts, def and lost fuel mileage plus all the jet fuel for overnight parts shipping that the footprint is pretty dam close between a 1997 12.7 and a New 550 Cummins. If I could I would take the old chiefs pensions away because they do not desire it for reuining people’s lives and Liberial Democrats must be gone before the destroy the USA 🇺🇸

  7. 7. Richard Davis [ March 14, 2018 @ 09:41AM ]

    Imagine that!!!!! Someone " using a glider truck, to avoid using a more costly and repair-prone newer truck ". Someone should asked Tom Carper and Tom Udall, is that something like a factory using cheaper, less safe material from China, rather than using the high dollar but better and safer U.S. made material? How many miles have either of these guys logged in a truck? Maybe if these guys and others, would work on raising the freight rate up, then maybe people could afford to by a new truck. Then they would be able to sit while their " repair-prone truck " was being worked on. They pass laws that let companies send jobs overseas, gives them tax breaks, so they can make a bigger profit and send products back over here, that are unsafe. But yet, they don't want the trucking industry to be able to save money or even make money.

  8. 8. OEM Dealer [ March 15, 2018 @ 05:51AM ]

    This issue at its core is about money. The OEM's were forced by the government to spend billions developing and testing and warranting expensive emission systems. Fitzgerald has found a loophole in the regulations, lobbied several well placed politicians and paid the right people to get that loophole left open . Kudo's to them for getting that done. The issue is the OEM's want treated the same way. How nice would it be to buy a NEW rig without all that crap on it like the old days. Thats where the issue is. People are not worried about the environment, they are worried about bank accounts. People on both sides of this are worried about the same thing. Those building glider kits want to keep that ball rolling and those building new trucks want to be able to build trucks without all this crap as well. OEM's were forced to spend big money only to see someone outsmart them and they are not happy. If the oems really wanted to stop this thing all they have to do is stop building glider kits, but they wont. They are too greedy.

  9. 9. Freightshaker Joe [ March 15, 2018 @ 01:10PM ]

    they are all worried about gliders when I personally know of at least 10 carriers who have their newer motor emissions deleted. What is the difference!!

  10. 10. Stephen Roberts [ March 21, 2018 @ 02:51PM ]

    Typical politicians who don't care about anything but themselves. Tom Udall is nothing more than a mouth-piece for the far left and has no platform of his own (I'm from New Mexico, too.) All that's being looked at is what comes out of the exhaust, NOT the overall emission out-put to make diesel engines "clean." Plus, Pittsburgh Power once did a test that proved an engine (believe a C-15) set up by them surpassed EPA emissions without the junk. So, in the end, it's just about a select few wanting to control the many.

 

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