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Blocking GHG3

Congress introduces bill to block GHG3 rules

May 2, 2024
A group of conservative Congressional lawmakers introduced Congressional Review Act bills to block EPA's latest Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards rules for trucking.

A conservative group of Congressional lawmakers has introduced bills to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s latest zero-emission mandates for heavy-duty vehicles.

Legislators introduced bills in the House and Senate to block the EPA’s final rule, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles—Phase 3. The GHG3 rule requires heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers to sell a greater share of zero-emission vehicles annually.

The rule requires that, by 2032, a quarter of new long-haul and 40% of heavy-duty short-haul and medium-duty vehicles sold must be zero-emission. OEMs and suppliers can also meet these more stringent emissions requirements by producing and selling near-zero and other low-emission equipment that operates on fuels such as natural gas and biodiesel. Major trucking industry organizations have criticized the rule, including the American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, and Clean Freight Coalition.

See also: Coalition puts $1 trillion price tag on electrifying U.S. trucking industry

Todd Spencer, president of OOIDA, voiced his support for blocking the EPA rules.

“Small business truckers make up 96% of trucking and could be regulated out of existence if the EPA’s misguided mandate comes into effect,” Spencer said in a statement. “This could have devastating effects on the reliability of America’s supply chain and ultimately on the cost and availability of consumer goods. Local mom-and-pop trucking businesses would be suffocated by the sheer cost and operational challenges of effectively mandating EV trucks.”

What are these bills?

Lawmakers passed two Congressional Review Act bills to block EPA’s GHG rules; one for heavy-duty vehicles and one for light- and medium-duty vehicles. Congressional Review Act legislation allows Congress to overturn certain federal agencies’ actions.

Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) and Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) introduced the CRA legislation for heavy-duty vehicles. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-Nebraska) and Rep. John James (R-Michigan) introduced the CRA legislation for light- and medium-duty vehicles.

In the Senate, 46 Republican Senators and Democrat Joe Manchin co-sponsored the heavy-duty vehicles CRA. Meanwhile, 40 Republican Senators and Manchin are co-sponsors of the light- and medium-duty vehicles CRA.

Sullivan, Ricketts, James, and Fulcher announced plans to try blocking the rules on April 1, shortly after EPA had finalized the rule for heavy-duty vehicles.

Are the bills likely to pass?

The bills are not very likely to pass. Emissions standards are largely a partisan issue, and no liberal policymakers in the House or Senate have yet voiced support for the bills.

CRA legislation only needs simple majority votes by both the Senate and House to overturn a final rule issued by a federal agency. However, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Congressional lawmakers have introduced more than 200 joint resolutions of disapproval since CRA’s enactment in 1996—but have only successfully overturned a handful of rules.

See also: Renewable diesel could cut emissions for much less than electrification

It is common for an out-of-power party to pass CRA resolutions of disapproval in reaction to federal rules without the resolutions having much chance of success. In the House, the bills would likely need support from all 217 Republican Representatives. In the Senate, the bills would need support from all 49 minority Republican senators as well as two more majority Democrat or independent senators.

Even then, President Joe Biden would likely veto the bills. Congress would need a two-thirds majority to overturn the executive veto.

A similar case happened with Congress’s attempt to block the Clean Truck Plan in 2023. GOP Senators introduced CRA legislation to overturn EPA’s heavy-duty vehicle emissions rules, the House and Senate narrowly passed the bill, and then Biden vetoed the resolution.

About the Author

Jeremy Wolfe | Editor

Editor Jeremy Wolfe joined the FleetOwner team in February 2024. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with majors in English and Philosophy. He previously served as Editor for Endeavor Business Media's Water Group publications.

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