Sens. Tillis, Capito, Young, and Burr Back Obama-Era EPA Trucking Rule

Glider Trucks Getty Images
Getty Images

Four GOP establishment senators and ten House Republicans signed a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, asking him to save an Obama-era trucking rule.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Sens. Todd Young (R-IN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Richard Burr (R-NC) all signed onto a letter urging Pruitt to save an Obama-era glider truck emissions regulation.

House Republicans such as Reps. David Valadao (R-CA), Mark Sanford (R-SC), and Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) also backed the letter.

During the Obama administration, the EPA created a new rule to regulate glider trucks the same way as new trucks. Glider trucks are built by pairing a new chassis with an older diesel engine and powertrain. Glider trucks cost roughly 25 percent less compared to new trucks, making them more affordable for America’s trucking industry. 

Steve Milloy, a Trump EPA transition team member, contends that the Obama-era regulation “would have essentially shuttered the glider industry.”

Sens. Capito, Tillis, and Burr have not responded to a request for comment from Breitbart News about their support for an Obama-era trucking regulation.

Sen. Young’s office responded a to Breitbart News in a statement, saying, “Senator Young believes Hoosier manufacturers, trucking fleets, and job creators need regulatory certainty and the EPA should carefully consider how any changes could undermine significant investments Hoosier stakeholders have already made.”

Carl Howard, the vice president and general manager of H&H Freightliner, a North Carolina trucking company, reacted to the news that Sen. Burr supports the Obama-era trucking rule in an exclusive statement to Breitbart News.

Howard told Breitbart News:

The EPA rule eliminates our glider business in 2020. Without a new means to replace these sales we will see about a 40 percent decrease in vehicle sales. The term “decades of consistent regulation” regarding this is a joke. The only thing consistent with the regulation is that it changes. I think someone has pulled the wool over Burr’s eyes regarding this, and pretty disappointed he did not look at his constituents, or manufacturers in his state.  The largest manufacturer of the unassembled kits and new trucks has 2 plants in North Carolina. The manufacturers against it are not doing it for environmental concerns, they are doing it because they do not produce glider kits.  Who wouldn’t support a possible reduction in competition? Further, the perception is false that gliders put dirty trucks on the road, old worn out dirty trucks are pulled off and replaced with gliders. They replace dirty trucks, not create them.

Breitbart News revealed in an exclusive report in March that Congressman Jenkins originally denied and then admitted to sending a letter urging lawmakers to support protection of the Obama-era EPA trucking regulation.

In a statement to Breitbart News, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is running against Jenkins in the 2018 West Virginia Republican Senate primary, said, “it’s clear Evan Jenkins has not abandoned his Democratic past.”

Large trucking manufacturers such as Volvo and Navistar, fleet owners such as the United Parcel Service (UPS), and the National Association of Manufacturers, have lobbied to preserve the Obama-era glider regulation.

Terry Dotson, president of Worldwide Equipment Enterprises, which makes trucks that compete with glider trucks, supports the Obama-era EPA regulation. Dotson argued that “everybody ought to play by the same set of rules.”

Dotson donated to Sen. Young’s and Rep. Sanford’s campaigns right before both lawmakers signed onto the letter supporting the glider rule.

Rep. Jenkins told Breitbart News in March that Worldwide Equipment first reached out to him regarding the glider trucking rule, leading to Jenkins circulating the letter around Capitol Hill to find other signatories.

Jenkins told Breitbart News:

I was contacted about the issue by Worldwide Equipment in West Virginia, which Vice President Pence visited just a few weeks ago to praise their new investments thanks to tax reform. After this major local employer shared with me how this regulation is threatening jobs in West Virginia, I drafted a different letter regarding the issue that reflects the concerns of my constituents.

Lane Parker, president of Trinity Transport, a small trucking company that has invested in glider trucks, argues that keeping the EPA glider rule will only hurt his business and the environment. Parker argues in a letter to Pruitt how “Gliders are not new vehicles and should not be subject to the same laws as new vehicles.”

Parker added:

These new rules would force smaller trucking companies to keep running older trucks, which are much more harmful to the environment, but more economical to operate. It needs to be noted that newer model Gliders are much more environmentally friendly than continuing to keep older trucks on the road indefinitely, which is what will ultimately happen.

Last November, the EPA under Administrator Scott Pruitt moved to shield the glider truck industry from the Obama-era rule.

The agency wrote:

In proposing a new interpretation of the relevant statutory language, EPA now believes that its prior reading was not the best reading, and that the Agency failed to consider adequately the most important threshold consideration: i.e., whether or not Congress, in defining ‘new motor vehicle’ … had a specific intent to include … such a thing as a glider vehicle – a vehicle comprised both of new and previously owned components.

Parker suggested that if the EPA decides to keep the EPA rule, then small trucking businesses such as his will “be forced into difficult financial situations,” which will make it harder to compete against larger trucking companies.


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