Safety & Compliance

Environmental Group, State Attorneys Urge EPA to Keep Glider Kit GHG Rules

January 08, 2018

By Steven Martinez

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Photo: Tom Berg
Photo: Tom Berg

Environmental advocates, state attorneys general, and others are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to maintain the Obama administration’s regulation restricting the use of glider kits under the Greenhouse Gas Phase 2 rules, calling the current efforts to reverse the rule at odds with the Clean Air Act.

Last November, EPA moved ahead with its promise to repeal the glider provision found in the 2016 GHG rules. EPA’s proposed repeal contended that glider kits should not be included in GHG regulations because glider vehicles are not technically “new motor vehicles” and glider engines are not “new motor vehicle engines," and thus are not subject to the EPA’s authority on environmental regulations.

In a phone conference Monday, the Environmental Defense Fund challenged this reading as intentionally misrepresentative of the CAA, saying it went against the principles upon which the legislation was founded.

“For EPA to propose an interpretation of the Clean Air Act that would exclude these extremely high-polluting trucks from emissions standards is not only an unreasonable reading of the plain text of the CAA, it’s also at odds with and severely undermines the core purpose of the Clean Air Act,” said Alice Henderson, EDF attorney.

EDF representatives also pointed out that industry stakeholders didn't challenge the EPA's authority over glider kits at the time the Phase 2 standards were being written.

In fact, some of those stakeholders late last year signed a letter supporting the original mandate. The letter, signed by executives from Volvo Group North America, Cummins, and Navistar, stated that glider kits should not be used to bypass currently certified powertrains.

In addition, a coalition of 12 attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington filed a comment strongly opposing the glider rule repeal, saying that the group was prepared to take any action to protect the emissions regulation, including legal challenges.

“Repealing the glider rule is bad for our environment, for the health of our families, and for truckers and shippers who play by the rules and operate trucks with cleaner fuel-burning engines,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is required to set and enforce motor-vehicle emissions standards. If EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decides to neglect this legal responsibility by doing away with the glider rule, we are prepared to take any and all action to protect the air our children breathe and the vitality and level playing field of the trucking industry, an important sector of our economy.” 

Fitzgerald Glider Kits Petition

In May 2017, Pruitt held a meeting with Fitzgerald Glider Kits, according to a report by The Washington Post, but the details of that meeting were not publicly discussed. Just two months later, Fitzgerald petitioned EPA for the repeal of the rule, citing EPA’s lack of authority to do so as its first reason.

Fitzgerald also challenged the validity of EPA’s assessment of the environmental impact that glider kits would have, saying that it was based on unsupported assumptions rather than data. This petition was directly cited in EPA’s proposed repeal of the glider rule.

EDF criticized EPA’s lack of transparency on the meeting with Fitzgerald Glider Kits, saying that the apparent impact of the meeting had "concerning implications" for the Pruitt-led EPA.

The advcocay group also called attention to a study conducted by Tennessee Technical University – underwritten by Fitzgerald – that appeared to show that glider kits would not have as significant an environmental impact as previously argued by the EPA’s own study, as also reported by The Washington Post. The Tennessee Tech study was included in the EPA’s repeal proposal instead of the agency's own report. 

“There’s a series of more than suspicious circumstances surrounding this particular action.” – EDF's Jason Mathers

“EPA itself put in the docket an extensive documentation of a test program that they had conducted at their own research facility and that was not even mentioned or cited in the proposal to roll back the provision,” said Jason Mathers, EDF director for on-road vehicles. “There’s a series of more than suspicious circumstances surrounding this particular action.”

Public Comments

As part of the proposed repeal of the glider rule, the EPA held a public comment period for citizens and industry stakeholders to voice opinions on the rollback. More than 24,000 comments were received by EPA before the comment period closed on Jan. 5.

Daimler Trucks North America (which offers glider kits itself) and Detroit Diesel Corporation filed a comment in opposition to EPA’s proposal, stating it supports the Phase 2 rules as written.

“EPA’s proposed revisions to the glider rules would undermine the investments that DTNA and Detroit Diesel Corporation — and all other U.S. manufacturers — made in advanced technologies and exhaust aftertreatment, while opening the vehicle and engine markets to manufacturers who find simple options to skirt EPA regulations altogether and market high-emitting engines or vehicles.”

However, some small trucking businesses filed comments supporting easing the rules on gliders.

For instance, Micha Miller of MJ Miller Inc. cited its reliance on glider kits for profitable business. “Being a small company, profit margins are slim. Glider kits give us the ability to do our own maintenance and repairs, which decreases our downtime. We have tried the later model trucks and the results of that ended in a fuel mileage that did not even compare to the glider kit's fuel mileage. We get an average of over a mile to the gallon better fuel mileage on the gliders. The glider kits also give us an advantage of availability of parts, due to our local part stores having the majority of older engine parts in stock. The loss of the glider kit truck would devastate our business and the way we operate.”

All public comments on the rule are archived and searchable on Regulation.gov.

Comments

  1. 1. Mike C. [ January 09, 2018 @ 03:24AM ]

    A glider kit with the older more efficient yes more efficient & much more reliable engine is the way to go. Why anyone would buy one of these new trucks is beyond me. They are overpriced, not reliable at all. The expense difference from repairs & downtime also the price tag of these new pieces of shit is ridiculous. Again if you buy one swim in your misery because that’s exactly what these government agencies & environmental groups want you to do. Your in business to save the planet not make a profit 🙄. Give me a break !!!!!

  2. 2. Carl Schreffler [ January 09, 2018 @ 04:38AM ]

    I have been driving trucks for over 50 years , I agree with Mike C. comment.

  3. 3. Kenny Scott [ January 09, 2018 @ 04:48AM ]

    I have own a 012 W9 550 Cummins. It was junk that is all of the emission control products on it. It was so bad that KW bought it back . With 5.7 mph , def and many more fillers plus maint of cleaning I would like to see if there is a true environmental savings compare to my present glider which gets 7.6 mpg , no def , no cleaning mufflers and 14 less filters a year. The EPA is a fake news agency and you can see this clean air thing is just an industry feeding their own pockets.

  4. 4. Steve [ January 09, 2018 @ 07:22AM ]

    More Regulations and More Regulations and More Regulations.......And More Regulations.....

  5. 5. CA trucker [ January 09, 2018 @ 07:31AM ]

    That's because Glider users do not attribute the full cost of their diesel emissions. You ARE KILLING PEOPLE!, including my kids and grand kids. Your pollution needs to be "charged" for the societal costs in increased health care and reduced quality of life.

    And yes, I am a small trucker with 25 trucks. Grew up in this biz 60 years ago so I know a thing or two about trucking.

    The fuel economy of new trucks is better than the old stuff. You are spreading fake news.

    Guys like you would have resisted giving up horse and wagons for internal combustion engines 100 years ago.

    Get with it and learn to make a living while easing the burden on the planet for future generations... or get out of business if you can't figure it out like the rest of us.

  6. 6. Mike C. [ January 09, 2018 @ 10:54AM ]

    Your facts are Flawed mr. Liberal KOOL-Aid drinking trucker. An older engine in an equivalent truck will get better fuel mileage than the new one will first of all. Second this nonsense about killing people is what I would call fake news. I would just keep overpaying for those unreliable pieces of garbage & dealing with all the downtime that comes with them it seems to be working for you. I’ll tell you what you learned in 60 years of trucking is they say jump & you ask how high. You do that well to !!!🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄

  7. 7. Ground pounder [ January 09, 2018 @ 03:59PM ]

    To Mr CA Trucker-(Or not)? If you believe one word of what you are saying, then all I have to say to you is MISERY LOVES COMPANY!

  8. 8. CA trucker [ January 09, 2018 @ 04:50PM ]

    Fair enough, we can agree to disagree but the fact is these unregulated diesels emit, what 40% more pollution than new?

    That is just not acceptable. To allow someone to circumvent the rules undercuts everyone else. That's also unacceptable. And in the end I don't believe the exemption will survive.

    Momentum is against it.

    Lastly, I am far from liberal :-)

  9. 9. Bungee [ January 11, 2018 @ 07:11PM ]

    CA trucker, 40% percent more pollution? A gallon of diesel burned is a gallon of diesel burned. Both trucks emit the same pollution. The only difference now is instead of feeding the trees we're poisoning our ground water... Wake up! And yes, you still sound like an ignorant libtard.

  10. 10. CA trucker [ January 12, 2018 @ 07:01AM ]

    Well the DPF removes almost all the soot (particluate) and the SCR reduces NOX 90% over the unregulated (circa 2000 model year diesels) that the glider industry is installing.

    One need only look at Beijing, China and India where air pollution literally is shutting down the cities and people are dying during their smog episodes.

    That's how it used to be in LA. Still today, drive the CA Central Valley from Stockton to Bakersfield (very rural area). The mountains trap the pollution and at times the air quality is unbearable.

    In SF Bay Area we just went through month of December where an air inversion trapped the normal stuff at ground level. Pretty nasty. Last October the wine country fires smoke blew into the Bay Area and damn near incapacitated everyone.

    That's what happens in many areas of the country on a smaller scale daily caused just by normal pollution from cars, trucks, power plants. You just don't see it as much.

    Most major big cities across the country face or will face these issues and follow California's path, like it or not. If you happen to live in lesser populated areas great. You may not suffer now. But maybe your pollution blows elsewhere. That's why it's not a local issue.

    I am not sayin' the new trucks are trouble free bu my experience is they have gotten a lot more reliable and will continue to do so.

  11. 11. CA trucker [ January 12, 2018 @ 07:18AM ]

    Here's a quick test we can do:

    Lets take a new glider truck with a 2000 model Engine and a 2010+ truck and drive them both in to a 10,000 square foot shop one at a time.

    We'll fire them up cold with the doors closed and see how long we can breath. We can do the 2010 truck first if you like.

    Bring the grandkids. IT will be a gas!

  12. 12. John [ January 13, 2018 @ 08:32AM ]

    California deserves you.

  13. 13. Kenny Scott [ January 13, 2018 @ 09:47AM ]

    What about all the furnace time cleaning exhaust filters. How about all the extra trucks hauling def. How about all the extra filters and raw product it takes to make clean air and extra diesel fuel to clean air. Clean air is a money maker that is all. I would like to see those figures on actual clean air after all the cost and action are added in. I know the Epa and their type to be liars clear back to the Seventies. Nothing personal but I really wish we would have let Mexico keep CA. That state cost us so much in disasters and in moral content. It is beautiful when is not on fire, flooding or shaking.

  14. 14. CA trucker [ January 15, 2018 @ 05:47AM ]

    Then you would have to import all the good stuff from fresh lettuce to your smart phone from Mexico. The good ole' USA would be living in the stone ages.

    We got all the stuff.

  15. 15. Dan Akers [ January 20, 2018 @ 03:44PM ]

    All of these wonderful people who for some unknown reason to me think they are going to save the earth God Bless them they so start by having their politicians eliminate all the idling that occurs in this country and every city due to outdated traffic signals and congested roadways! I agree with the comments give me a break! It’ s Called priorities and competence in management!

 

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