The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be hosting a series of regional meetings to develop a model national anti-idling law applicable to heavy-duty trucks and buses. The forum is open to all industry stakeholders including state representatives of environmental agencies, trucking associations, truck drivers, environmental groups and health associations.
The EPA stressed that the purpose of the project is to provide states considering adopting anti-idling regulations or those with measures already in place a comprehensive anti-idling law that stakeholders have contributed to.
“The hope is that ultimately there’d be a model that states could choose from. We don’t advocate that states adopt idling laws,” Suzanne Rudzinski, EPA Director of the Transportation and Regional Programs Division— Office of Transportation Air Quality, told Fleet Owner. ”This is strictly a voluntary effort. We try to provide tools to people to make it easier to accomplish goals they may have. EPA is not going to be issuing anything.”
A major priority of the model law is to address trucking industry concerns that a patchwork of anti-idling regulations will emerge at the state and local levels.
“The trucking industry has expressed concern about differences in idling laws. In many cases truckers don’t know what it is they’re supposed to comply with,” Rudzinski said. “For example, one set of equipment would comply with one state and others with other states. You can’t have different equipment for different laws.
“We want to work through a number of these issues to see if there are commonalities that would address these concerns and to come up with a model that states considering laws could use,” she added. “When all the parties work through this together it will facilitate greater understanding, and therefore greater compliance.”
The American Trucking Association (ATA) has expressed its support for the EPA initiative and will be participating.
“We’re trying to ensure or strive to get a national level of consistency when states and municipalities are considering adopting anti-idle laws,” Glen Kedzie, ATA environmental counsel, told Fleet Owner. “We would hope and encourage states and municipalities that have anti-idle laws to consider incorporating or adopting the national model.”
Indeed, state governments that are considering adopting anti-idle regs are taking notice.
“We’re seeing more and more states and municipalities becoming creative in coming up with emission reduction credits (to comply with the Clean Air Act),” Kedzie said. “Illinois is looking to adopt an anti-idling law but, from my understanding, they agreed to hold off on it to see to how the model law develops. That’s a good sign; to see that they’re willing to reconsider their existing law and they’ll come to the table as well.
“There will be a lot of give and take that will hopefully work toward a positive end,” Kedzie added. “But a national anti-idling law would be good for trucking because at the current price of diesel it makes sense to conserve as much as possible. It’s good for the environment, for the owner of the vehicle due to maintenance reductions, and good for the public image of the trucking industry in general. It’s a win-win-win situation.”
EPA plans to hold five meetings that will cover New England, the Mid Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast and West Coast regions. The first meeting is tentatively slated for Baltimore, MD in May while the others will be scheduled between May and July.