(The Hill) — Thirty-four Republican senators on Thursday introduced a resolution seeking to overturn an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule on heavy truck emissions through the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
The CRA allows lawmakers to reverse rules issued by the executive branch using a simple majority in both chambers of Congress. While the GOP recently took the majority in the House of Representatives, the effort, led by Sen. Debbie Fischer (R-Neb.), would likely be doomed in the Democratic Senate.
In a statement, Fischer called the rule overly aggressive, saying it would create an incentive for truckers to use older, less efficient vehicles for longer.
“This aggressive EPA rule – which will hit mom and pop truck operations the hardest – is also ineffective because it incentivizes operators to keep using older, higher-emitting trucks for longer. During a period of high inflation and supply chain disruptions, the last thing this country needs is more expensive freight costs and fewer truckers,” Fischer said in a statement.
The EPA finalized the new annual emissions rule in December 2022, the first such update in two decades. The rule, set to be implemented in 2027, would cut nitrogen oxide from buses and heavy trucks by about half by 2045, according to the agency.
The rules are 80 percent tougher than existing rules, and EPA Administrator Michael Reagan has called them vital to reducing exposure to air pollution for Americans who live along heavy-duty freight routes. The agency has estimated that the tighter rule would cut premature deaths by 2,900 and childhood asthma cases by 18,000.
Heavy-duty vehicles comprise about 23 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which is responsible for the largest percentage of emissions overall. They are responsible for fewer emissions than personal vehicles but create emissions disproportionate to their numbers on the road.
The resolution marks Fischer’s second CRA resolution on environmental matters in as many days. On Wednesday, the Nebraska Republican joined the rest of the Republican Senate caucus in challenging the Biden administration’s Waters of the United States rule, which would set the definition of waterways subject to federal jurisdiction.
The Hill has reached out to the EPA for comment.