Wheeler confirmed as EPA administrator

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | 2/28/2019

The Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler to be the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator. Wheeler had been serving as acting administrator since Scott Pruitt resigned from the post in July.

Senators voted 52-47 on Thursday, Feb. 28 in favor of Wheeler’s confirmation.

“It is truly humbling to serve the American public as EPA administrator,” Wheeler posted to Twitter on Thursday. “I want to thank President Trump for nominating me and Leader (Mitch) McConnell and Chairman (John) Barrasso for navigating my confirmation through the Senate. I am deeply honored, and I look forward to continuing the president’s agenda and the work of the agency alongside all my EPA colleagues.”

The confirmation could spell good news for the glider truck industry. Wheeler told Land Line Now in November that the agency was working on a way to keep glider vehicles as an option for small-business truckers. Under Pruitt’s direction, the EPA attempted to repeal emissions requirements for glider vehicles, but the proposal was eventually moved to the agency’s long-term actions list.

“Gliders make up a small but important part of the trucking industry, and we’re continuing to work to address the gliders on a separate regulatory path,” he said. “Our team is developing a legally sound approach to appropriately regulate gliders by working with the industry to improve the emissions profile of their operations and not by putting them out of business as is the case with the existing cap.”

In November 2017, 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.

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, under the direction of Wheeler, reversed that decision on July 27 after environmentalist groups filed a lawsuit over the decision not to enforce the regulation.

OOIDA argues that gliders are a cost-effective option for small-business truckers. Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs, testified in support of the glider industry during a subcommittee meeting in September.

 

 

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