A long-awaited rule aimed at reducing dangerous emissions from heavy trucks and buses was announced by the Biden administration earlier this week. Climate and environmental justice advocates say the proposal is not enough.
In particular, critics are frustrated that the administration is seeking to phase out diesel exhaust pollution instead of advancing zero-emission vehicles.
“The Biden administration can set a course to move quickly to zero-emission trucks, and it should use every tool available to do so and protect public health,” said Angelo Logan, campaign manager for the Moving Forward Network, in a statement.
The 72 million Americans who live near highway freight routes are regularly exposed to air pollution that causes a wide range of health problems. While the EPA’s proposal would reduce smog-forming emissions from trucks by up to 60 percent by 2045, proponents say people will continue to suffer, and that’s not acceptable.
“An opportunity is missing to advance zero-emission trucks at the pace needed to address the urgent public health crisis facing environmental justice communities,” said Patricio Portillo, transportation analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. , in a press release.
Climate advocates have also criticized the administration for not doing more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the EPA’s plan tightens greenhouse gas emission standards for certain types of vehicles, the agency will wait to pursue tougher standards for heavy trucks later, in a separate proposal.
The EPA intends to finalize the plan announced Monday by the end of 2022. The agency is accepting public comments until mid-April.
“We will urge the Biden administration to rethink its approach and set an ambitious course,” Paul Cort, director of Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign, said in a statement. “The EPA’s new truck rule could do so much more to get us on the right track and electrify the dirtiest vehicles on the road.”