The Environmental Protection Agency will exercise “enforcement discretion” on glider manufacturers through 2019 to reduce the impact on the industry while the agency evaluates its proposal to repeal certain emission requirements for gliders, a spokeswoman said on Monday, July 9.
Based on the Obama-era regulation, glider manufacturers were going to be limited to building 300 trucks in 2018. Backing off enforcement means glider manufacturers will be able to produce as many gliders as they did in 2017, when they were limited to the number of gliders they built in their biggest production year between 2010 and 2014.
In November 2017, the EPA proposed to repeal emission requirements for glider vehicles, glider engines, and glider kits. A hot-button issue, the EPA received more than 24,000 comments on the proposed repeal.
The proposal has yet to become a final rule.
Molly Block, a spokeswoman for the EPA, said the agency is trying to reduce the negative effects to the industry until a final rule can be completed.
“After taking into consideration the public comments received as well as engagement with stakeholders, EPA has determined that additional evaluation of a number of matters is required before it can take final action on one or more aspects of the proposal,” Block said in a statement. “Until a final rule can be completed to bring regulatory certainty to glider manufacturers, the agency is considering interim steps to reduce severe impacts on the industry.
“First, EPA is considering an extension of the compliance date, which would set a new effective date of Dec. 21, 2019. And, second, the agency is exercising its enforcement discretion in 2018 and 2019 for small manufacturers who limit production to the interim cap provided in 2017.”
The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association supported the emission requirement repeal for gliders, saying that glider kits offer small-business truck drivers a more affordable and reliable alternative to increasingly expensive new vehicles.
The news of the EPA’s decision to not enforce the production cap for 2018 was first reported by The New York Times on July 6. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his resignation on July 5. Andrew Wheeler will serve as the EPA’s leader until President Donald Trump names a successor.
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