Attorney General Becerra Leads Coalition in Calling for Immediate Halt to Former EPA Administrator Pruitt’s Parting Gift to Polluters

Friday, July 13, 2018
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SACRAMENTO  Leading a coalition of 13 Attorneys General, the California Air Resources Board, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today submitted a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demanding the immediate withdrawal of an order issued on now-departed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s final day in office. The order effectively suspends the EPA’s 2016 Glider Rule for a year. The Glider Rule mandates that most engines installed in “gliders” – new heavy-duty truck bodies outfitted with refurbished or rebuilt pre-2010 highly polluting engines – meet the same emissions standards applicable to all newly manufactured engines. Via a memorandum dated July 6, 2018, the EPA committed to take no action to enforce the Glider Rule’s annual manufacturing cap of 300 gliders per company. This cap is meant to protect our air from the excessive smog-forming and particulate-matter pollution emitted by outdated engines.

“Until the bitter end, Scott Pruitt chose to put the interests of major polluters and donors ahead of his professional ethics and official responsibilities as chief environmental protector. Not even on his final day in office could Pruitt resist doing their bidding as he moved to suspend the Glider Rule,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Glider engines pose a documentable danger to our health and our environment. The EPA, itself, has estimated that adding 10,000 gliders with non-compliant engines onto our roads in a single year could result in up to 1,600 premature deaths, 415,000 tons of additional nitrogen oxide emissions, and 6,800 tons of additional particulate matter emissions. Our coalition is prepared to take any and all legal action to ensure that the EPA follows its own rules and protects our families and environment.”

“Trucks rebuilt with glider kits cause environmental damage far beyond their numbers and will remain illegal in California unless they can meet stringent state standards,” said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols. “Based on EPA’s own testing, glider vehicle NOx (nitrogen oxide) levels were 4 to 40 times higher, and PM (particulate matter) levels were 50 to 450 times higher than for modern vehicles. California can step up enforcement, but EPA’s publicly announced refusal to do its job makes it virtually impossible to catch all these vehicles. This appears to follow the same failed, broad-brush effort by this EPA to illegally delay health-protective rules, and we believe it too, will fail.”

The action taken on former Administrator Pruitt’s last day will allow the sale of trucks that produce many times more emissions of hazardous pollutants than new, more fuel efficient trucks. These high-polluting trucks are linked to asthma, low birth weight, infant mortality, and lung cancer. In California and elsewhere, the rest of the trucking industry has already made substantial investments to comply with stringent emissions standards. These industries would face an uneven playing field if forced to compete against unregulated, high-polluting glider manufacturers who avoid such investments.

Attorney General Becerra has had to take action against the EPA numerous times to compel the agency to comply with the law. To date, he has sued the EPA 10 times and has not lost a case.

Joining Attorney General Becerra in submitting this letter are the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington. The California Air Resources Board and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are also part of the coalition.                                            

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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