EPA still reviewing glider rule as it's moved to 'long-term actions' list

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | Friday, October 19, 2018

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency moved its proposal to repeal emissions requirements for glider vehicles to its “long-term actions” list, it doesn’t mean the agency has given up on the measure.

“While the EPA has filed the reconsideration of the glider kit repeal under its long-term timeline in the Unified Regulatory Agenda, it is just a formality to file the rule as EPA staff continue to review, analyze and consider a final solution as to whether to file a repeal of the glider kit rule,” said Nile Elam, OOIDA’s director of legislative affairs.

“The timeline suggested in the Unified Regulatory Agenda in no way confirms the EPA’s desired course of action of unwillingness to move forward, rather just a filing mechanism while the agency works toward a conclusive and final rule.”

As part of the Trump administration’s Fall 2018 Unified Regulatory Agenda released on Oct. 17, EPA placed the November 2017 proposed repeal in its long-term actions list, which is typically for rules the agency expects to take at least a year before the next regulatory action.

Under the direction of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the EPA attempted to remove glider vehicles, glider engines and glider kits from the Obama-era Greenhouse Gas Phase II regulations. The rulemaking was based on a proposed interpretation of the Clean Air Act under which glider vehicles would be found not to constitute new motor vehicles, meaning EPA would lack the authority to regulate the gliders.

Gliders are remanufactured truck engines in new truck bodies.

However, the proposal received significant opposition from environmental groups and was never elevated to a final rule after the comment period ended in January.

In July, the EPA announced it would delay enforcement of a cap on the number of glider vehicles through 2019. However, the EPA and Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler reversed that decision on July 27 after environmentalist groups filed a lawsuit over the decision not to enforce the regulation. Under the current regulation, glider manufacturers are limited to building 300 trucks in 2018. Backing off enforcement would have meant that glider manufacturers could have produced 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.

At that time, the EPA said it would “work expeditiously to finalize a solution that provides regulatory relief and prevents any inadvertent economic harm to the glider industry while maintaining important air quality protections.”

Last week, seven Republican congressmen wrote to Wheeler, saying that the existing regulation on gliders could put the industry in “financial ruin” and asked for the compliance date to be pushed back.

“The glider kit and truck industry are facing financial ruin due to the annual arbitrary production cap,” the letter stated. “According to the glider industry, hundreds of American workers in the industry have been laid off in the last three months. The glider kit and truck industry will cease to exist in short order without meaningful relief.”

 

 

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