EPA’s Phase 2 GHG emission standards, finalized in October 2016, included emission requirements and production limits for glider-kit vehicles. - Photo: Deborah Lockridge

 

EPA’s Phase 2 GHG emission standards, finalized in October 2016, included emission requirements and production limits for glider-kit vehicles.

Photo: Deborah Lockridge

Although it has no bearing on the current regulatory status of truck glider kits, an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog has determined that the agency essentially did a rush job when it developed a proposed rule in 2017 to repeal clean-air caps on truck glider kits.

The rulemaking process “lacked transparency and deprived the public of required information,” states a Dec. 5 report issued by the EPA’s Office of Inspection General, an independent office within the agency that conducts audits and investigations.

More specifically, the OIG report contends that by skimping on the details, “EPA failed to develop required cost and benefit analyses and to assess air quality impacts on children’s health” in putting together its proposed rollback of glider-kit production limits included in the federal GHG Phase 2 emission rules.

EPA’s Phase 2 GHG emission standards, finalized in October 2016, included emission requirements and production limits for glider-kit vehicles. After receiving a petition from the glider-kit industry in July 2017, EPA proposed to rescind the portion of the Phase 2 rule affecting gliders.

The OIG report states that, according to EPA managers and officials, “[in 2017] then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt directed that the Glider Repeal Rule be promulgated as quickly as possible. The proposed repeal rule would relieve industry of compliance requirements of the [GHG] Phase 2 rule, which set emissions standards and production limits for gliders beginning January 1, 2018. EPA officials were aware that available information indicated the proposed Glider Repeal Rule was ‘economically significant;’ however, Pruitt directed the Office of Air and Radiation to develop the proposed rule without conducting the analyses required…

“The lack of analyses caused the public to not be informed of the proposed rule’s benefits, costs, potential alternatives and impacts on children’s health during the public comment period,” the report continues. “As of the date of this report, the proposed Glider Repeal Rule is listed on the EPA’s Fall 2019 Regulatory Agenda as ‘economically significant.’”

While Pruitt resigned his EPA post in July 2018 in the face of allegations that he had used his office for personal gain, the Phase 2 glider-kit limits have remained in place.

This OIG report does not question the content of the proposed rollback rule. And an OIG report completed this summer determined that glider-vehicle testing conducted by the agency-- which found that glider-kit vehicles put out significantly more emissions than new trucks-- had “complied with standard practices.”

But given the Trump Administration’s penchant to seek the roll back of many regulations, it remains anyone’s guess if EPA will proceed anew with a proposed rule to remove or reduce the restrictions on glider kits.

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