Bipartisan reps, Senators call on EPA to rethink Phase 3 emissions regs

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, July 20, 2023:

Congessmembers criticize EPA's Phase 3 GHG regs, urging reconsideration of rule

Congressmen Doug LaMalfa (R-California) and Chris Pappas (D-New Hampshire) led 30 other members of Congress in sending a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its new Phase 3 Heavy-Duty Truck Rule.

Part of EPA’s Phase 3 proposal is to electrify 25% of new long-haul trucks by 2032, as well as 35% of new short-haul regional tractors and 50% of vocational vehicles. The proposal also reopened the “Phase 2” GHG emissions regs to make them more stringent for model year 2027 trucks, and promulgates new emissions standards beginning with the 2028 model year.

Groups of U.S. Senators and Representatives have previously penned letters to EPA Chief Michael S. Regan asking his agency to withdraw the rule, to no avail so far. The latest letter is signed by 31 representatives (27 Republicans and four Democrats) and one Senator (Mike Braun, Republican of Indiana).

[Related: CTA's Shimoda: Start working on CARB regulation requirements now]

In the latest letter, the members of Congress said they “have heard from constituents concerned that this rule will fundamentally transform the truck industry and should more fully take into consideration the affordability of future heavy-duty trucks and the ability of our nation’s commercial charging infrastructure to support the upcoming demand in its effort to drive modernization of America’s aging truck fleet.”

The letter criticizes EPA for bypassing the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) stage, in addition to denying requests to extend the comment period on its notice of proposed rulemaking after expiration of that period in June.

“There is much at stake for the truck industry, its employees, and the economy, and the EPA should take the time needed to carefully consider the concerns raised during the rulemaking,” the letter states. EPA’s cost estimates presented the biggest concern -- EPA did not consider the 12% federal excise tax (FET), state sales tax or insurance premiums for prospective owners of "zero-emission" electric heavy-duty trucks (ZEVs). “The EPA should consider whether these important factors must be included in its analysis.” 

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[Related: FET repeal may hinge on truck safety, high ZEV cost and supply chain issues]

The group also flagged concerns about the need for charging infrastructure to meet the transition to ZEVs. “Complex distribution system upgrades will be required to support EPA’s proposed rule, which will require a whole-of-government approach,” the Congressmembers cautioned. “EPA should consider real-world availability and the speed that we can build the required ZEV infrastructure.”

Ultimately, trucking business owners “will not purchase heavy-duty trucks they cannot afford, charge, or that otherwise do not meet their needs” the reps said, urging EPA to more carefully consider those concerns.

[Related: 'Destined to fail': Trucking sounds off to EPA on new Phase 3 greenhouse-gas regs]

Former Idaho third-party CDL tester sentenced for accepting bribes

Former third-party CDL skills tester Kelly Goodman, of Gooding, Idaho, was recently sentenced for accepting bribes in exchange for passing scores on the Idaho CDL skills test. Goodman previously pleaded guilty to charges of honest services wire fraud.

Goodman was sentenced to two years in prison, a $5,000 fine and a $100 special assessment.

An investigation conducted by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and the FBI found that between December 2017 and May 2020, Goodman accepted numerous bribes, totaling at least $38,000, for giving passing scores on the tests.

Paccar Parts opens new stores

Paccar Parts has opened 11 new stores in the first half of 2023 to support its TRP all-makes and models parts brand for trucks, trailers and buses.

The expansion of TRP stores provides North American customers greater access to TRP products that support their all-makes parts and service needs, the company said.

The new stores, and their offerings, are as follows: 

  • TRP Cleveland -- Cleveland, Ohio (parts)
  • TRP Chilliwack -- Chilliwack, B.C. (parts and service)
  • TRP Edmonton -- East Edmonton, Alberta (parts)
  • TRP Fredericksburg -- Fredericksburg, Virginia (parts)
  • TRP Irving -- Irving, Texas (parts and service)
  • TRP Yonkers Yonkers, New York (parts)
  • TRP O’Neill -- O'Neill, Nebraska (parts and service)
  • TRP Laurier-Station -- Laurier-Station, Quebec (parts and service)
  • TRP Shrewsbury -- Shrewsbury, Massachusetts (parts and service)
  • TRP South Bend -- South Bend, Indiana (parts)
  • TRP Ville-Marie -- Ville-Marie, Montreal (parts)

“We congratulate the teams at each store on their successful opening,” said Laura Bloch, Paccar Parts general manager and Paccar vice president. Further store openings are planned for the remainder of the year, she added. 

[Related: Nontraditional truck parts-sourcing strategies on the rise]