Providing for Congressional Disapproval Under Chapter 8 of Title United States Code, of the Rule Submitted By the Environmental Protection Agency Relating to ``Control of Air Pollution From New Motor

Floor Speech

Date: April 26, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I rise today in strong opposition to S.J. Res. 11, the Congressional Review Act resolution to disapprove of the Biden administration's clean air standards for heavy-duty trucks.

If enacted, this resolution would wipe away EPA's most recent final rule that addresses smog- and soot-forming pollution from our largest trucks and engines. The resolution could also prevent the Agency from ever issuing similar standards in the future.

This Congressional Review Act resolution is bad for public health. It is bad for our economy.

As many of us know, the transportation sector is one of our Nation's largest sources of nitrogen oxides, also known as NOX emissions. Heavy-duty vehicles--such as our schoolbuses and long-haul trucks--make up a third of mobile source NOX emissions.

Nitrogen oxide pollution is one of the main contributors to ozone pollution, or smog, and also contributes to soot pollution. These harmful air pollutants are linked to increased risks of asthma attacks, respiratory disease, and, sadly, in some cases, premature death.

In December 2022, I joined clean air advocates, labor leaders, and EPA Administrator Regan as he signed the final rule to reduce this pollution from new heavy-duty vehicles starting with model year 2027. This was the first time in more than 20 years that EPA had updated the heavy-duty vehicle NOX requirements. It should not be confused with EPA's recently proposed greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles.

During the event, Administrator Regan told attendees that this rule would result in 48 percent reduction in NOX by 2045--48 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions by 2045. These reductions will improve air quality nationwide, especially in areas overburdened by air pollution and diesel emissions.

Reducing vehicle pollution nationwide is especially personal for us in Delaware, where more than 90 percent of our air pollution comes from outside of our State.

The Heavy-Duty Vehicle NOX Rule is good for our health and good for our economy. With that, I want to give my colleagues three reasons why they should vote against Senator Fischer's CRA resolution.

First, the Heavy-Duty NOX Rule enables States to better meet EPA's health-based ozone air quality standards. Without the rule, States would have to make costly decisions and find more expensive ways to further reduce NOX emissions to meet ozone attainment. That is why many States and local air quality directors, including those in Arizona, Ohio, and Nevada, petitioned EPA in 2016 to take action on NOX emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.

In the same vein, I would like to ask unanimous consent to submit for the Record a letter opposing S.J. Res. 11 from the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which is an association that represents the State's clean air offices.

Hon. Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC. Hon. Tom Carper, Chair, Committee on Environment & Public Works, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC. Hon. Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC. Hon. Shelley Moore Capito, Ranking Member, Committee on Environment & Public Works, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Dear Senators Schumer, McConnell, Carper, and Capito: We write to you today on behalf of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) regarding S.J. Res. 11, introduced in the U.S. Senate on February 9, 2023, under which the U.S. Congress would disapprove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) final rule, ``Control of Air Pollution from New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards,'' published in the Federal Register on January 24, 2023 (88 Fed. Reg. 4296). NACAA is the national, nonpartisan, non-profit association of 157 state and local air pollution control agencies in 40 states, the District of Columbia and five territories. The views expressed in these comments do not represent the positions of every state and local air pollution control agency in the country.

On May 16, 2022, NACAA submitted written comments to EPA on the agency's proposed rule to set cleaner standards for nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions from heavy-duty (HD) trucks. These comments emphasize the importance of EPA's final HD truck NOX rule to state and local efforts across the nation to protect people's health, achieve and maintain clean air, and advance environmental justice goals.

Americans in every part of the country urgently need improvements in NOX emissions from onroad HD vehicles. Among our comments to EPA, NACAA included specific examples from state and local air agencies of the array of circumstances necessitating NOX reductions. Below, we highlight some of the other key points made in our comments.

During the nearly eight years before EPA promulgated this final rule NACAA urged the agency on multiple occasions to set more protective HD truck NOX standards. Prior to the 2023 rule, EPA last set federal HD truck NOX emission standards in 2001. Given the interstate nature of trucking--both cross- border operations and downwind atmospheric transport--federal standards are necessary to achieve the broad NOX reductions needed across the nation. Over the past two decades, technological advances to reduce HD truck NOX emissions have grown significantly as has the potential for even further advances. At the same time, emission limits for most other major NOX sources, such as power plants, generators, and industrial facilities, have repeatedly become more restrictive. Unless EPA took this federal action, HD trucks were on course to remain one of the largest contributors to the national mobile source NOX inventory in 2028.

There is a looming crisis facing many state and local clean air agencies across the nation. Currently, more than one- third of the U.S. population lives in an area that does not meet the health- and welfare-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, particulate matter (PM) or both. Many of these areas are over-burdened communities whose citizens are exposed to a disproportionate share of harmful environmental conditions. The excessive emissions from HD trucks are a primary cause, contributing substantial emissions of NOX--which are linked with a large number of adverse impacts on the respiratory system. In addition, NOX is the key pollutant contributing to the formation of ozone and PM2.5 and exposure to elevated levels of ozone and PM2.5 are associated with significant respiratory and cardiovascular impacts, including premature death.

While state and local air agencies have made great strides in reducing emissions from stationary sources. However, many state and local air agencies lack the authority to regulate mobile sources and never have the authority to regulate mobile sources upwind of or outside their borders. The regulation of mobile sources is an authority that lies almost entirely within the purview of the federal government. While some states and localities may be able to pursue ``California'' standards under Clean Air Act sections 209 and 177, most are precluded by state policies or legislation from adopting standards more stringent than those of the federal government.

Unfortunately, emission standards for this highway heavy- duty ``federal source'' did not keep pace with standards for the light-duty motor vehicle sector or stationary sources, and fell far short of what is needed to meet clean air, public health protection and environmental justice goals. As large swaths of the country slip deeper into nonattainment, or teeter on the cusp of it, many state and local air agencies are left with few remaining mechanisms to achieve the emission reductions the Clean Air Act demands. Areas that miss their attainment deadlines face the threat of ``bump- up'' to a more demanding classification of nonattainment--if they are not already classified as Extreme--and statutorily required economic sanctions if they fail to meet their attainment deadlines. On October 7, 2022, EPA bumped up over 25 areas in nonattainment of the 2008 and 2015 ozone NAAQS, meaning the citizens of these areas continue to suffer the detrimental impacts of unhealthful air.

Our nation is in need of a strong, sustainable transportation strategy with top priority placed on new federal programs to continue to protect people's health and reduce emissions from the mobile source sector. As this strategy is developed, the need for meaningful reductions in criteria pollutant emissions, especially NOX and PM, cannot be overlooked. Regarding attainment and maintenance of the ozone NAAQS, most areas of the country are ``NOX-limited,'' meaning that reducing NOX emissions is the key to success. In addition, research shows that in some areas of the country, such as much of the East Coast, NOX reductions are now ``supercharged,'' meaning that a one-pound reduction in NOX emissions equals more than one pound of ozone reduction. Failure to adequately address transportation-related NOX sources will have a direct and consequential impact on state and local air agencies' abilities to protect the health of the public they serve and their ability to fulfill their statutory obligations to attain and maintain federal health- based air quality standards by mandated deadlines and achieve their environmental justice goals.

EPA has now taken essential federal action that will result in significant NOX reductions from HD trucks. Cleaning up this sector is imperative to putting our nation on a path to attaining and maintaining the health-based NAAQS and protecting our nation's most vulnerable communities. Without this rule, many areas will be forced to adopt severe limits on stationary sources, for which they have authority to control, at ever-increasing costs to businesses. Even with these severe limits, there may not be enough NOX reductions available to protect people's health and meet federal air quality standards.

We thank you for considering the information provided in this letter and NACAA's May 16, 2022, comments to EPA on the HD truck NOX rule. If you have any questions or would like further information please do not hesitate to contact us or Miles Keogh, Executive Director of NACAA. Sincerely, Tracy R. Babbidge,

Connecticut, State Co-Chair, NACAA Mobile Sources and Fuels Committee. Erik C. White,

Placer County, California, Local Co-Chair, NACAA Mobile Sources and Fuels Committee.


Mr. CARPER. Second, these standards are achievable, and they provide predictability for industry, which the blunt tool of the CRA would undercut.

Companies such as Cummins and others in the heavy-duty vehicle industry support the Heavy-Duty NOX Rule. The CRA would reinstate a decades-old standard based on outdated air pollution control technology, while potentially blocking EPA from ever--from ever--adopting stronger standards.

Finally, if enacted, this CRA would negate the cumulative $200 billion in net benefits that the rule would generate between 2027 and 2045. These are the annual health and economic benefits that, by 2045, include: up to--listen to this--up to 2,900 fewer premature deaths--in 1 year--in 1 year; also, in 1 year, 6,700 fewer hospital admissions and emergency room visits; also, in 1 year, 18,000 fewer cases of childhood asthma; and, finally, in 1 year, 3.1 million fewer cases of asthma.

These improvements will be especially beneficial for the 72 million people living near truck freight routes, where many historically disadvantaged and underserved communities are disproportionately exposed to harmful ozone pollution.

Let me conclude by saying that the Heavy-Duty NOX Vehicle Rule protects public health and benefits our economy. That is a good combination. These protective and achievable Clean Air Act standards reduce dangerous smog and soot pollution and provides certainty for our Nation's heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers and for our State.

Walking away from all the benefits generated by this rule doesn't make sense. That is why I call on my colleagues to join me in opposing S.J. Res. 11.