WASHINGTON— (ENEWSPF)–January 24, 2017. The Center for Biological Diversity filed a legal intervention today in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to defend federal fuel-efficiency rules aimed at cutting air pollution and planet-warming emissions from big trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles.
Lawyers from the Center and other conservation organizations are moving to intervene in two lawsuits filed against the truck rule by a truck trailer manufacturers’ association and a racing enthusiasts’ association. The truck rule was finalized last year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“These lawsuits threaten sensible efforts to cut dangerous air pollution from the biggest, dirtiest vehicles on America’s highways,” said Vera Pardee, senior counsel with the Center’s Climate Law Institute. “The truck rule will help protect our climate and the very air we breathe, and we will protect it vigorously in court.”
The rule covers trucks and buses that account for more than 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. transportation sector, even though they represent only about 5 percent of the vehicles on the road. Truck emissions increased 71 percent between 1990 and 2013 and continue to grow.
The new standards also include truck-pulled trailers. In finalizing last year’s truck rule, federal officials explained that trailers, which are always used with tractors, fall clearly within the definition of a regulated vehicle under the Clean Air Act.
Trailer characteristics can greatly alter fuel economy. Regulating them is critical to protecting the climate and Americans’ health from air pollution emitted by heavy vehicles.
“Any meaningful effort to cut pollution from heavy trucks must include the huge trailers they pull,” Pardee said. “Trailer manufacturers can’t avoid their legal and moral obligation to be a part of the solution to climate change and harmful air pollution.”
The new standards, together with phase-in standards finalized in 2011, will cover model years through 2027 and apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks. Standards for trailers start in model year 2018.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.