First hearing on EPA's Phase 2 truck standards is Thursday in Chicago

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Wednesday, August 05, 2015

OOIDA says that even though EPA has extended the comment period for its proposed Phase 2 greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for trucks through Sept. 17, the time is still short for truckers and truck owners to adequately process and comment on provisions that will affect their bottom lines for the next 12 years and beyond. OOIDA aired some preliminary concerns in a letter to EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials on Wednesday, July 29.

OOIDA leadership acknowledges that a short extension for public comments granted by the Environmental Protection Agency will last 30 days beyond the second of two scheduled public hearings in regards to the agency’s proposed Phase 2 standards for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy for heavy-duty trucks. However, the Association is concerned that the time frame for comments on a proposal that stands to add $10,000 to $13,000 to the price of new trucks by 2027 requires proper analysis and vetting by the stakeholders the proposal stands to affect.

“This is an extremely complex proposal, and a longer comment period ensures that OOIDA and other stakeholders, as well as our membership of small-business owners and professional truck drivers, have ample opportunity to review the proposal and comment,” OOIDA leadership stated in the letter, signed by Association Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

“While extending the comment period 30 days beyond the last planned public meeting is a laudable decision, it does not adequately provide for sufficient time.”

EPA and NHTSA, which are conducting the joint rulemaking on the proposed Phase 2 standards, have scheduled a pair of public hearings, one in Chicago on Aug. 6 and one in Los Angeles on Aug. 18.

The Chicago hearing on Aug. 6 is scheduled for 9 a.m. local time at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL, 60603.

The Los Angeles hearing on Aug. 18 is scheduled for 9 a.m. local time at the Westin Hotel Long Beach, 333 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA, 90802.

OOIDA points out in the letter that the Chicago hearing is in an area that does not typically accommodate truck parking. The Los Angeles hearing may have some truck parking nearby due to its proximity to a convention center. Even so, OOIDA is urging EPA and NHTSA to hold at least one more hearing in a place that long haulers can access and be guaranteed a safe parking spot.
 
“OOIDA is concerned that by holding only two hearings in the downtown areas of major cities, the agencies will not have the benefit of hearing directly from the long-haul/over-the-road segment of the trucking industry,” OOIDA wrote.

“Long-haul truckers largely avoid traveling into downtown areas of cities due to restrictions on their vehicles, lack of parking, and a desire to limit exposure to the added accident risk that comes with congested urban areas.”

The Phase 2 proposal by EPA and NHTSA builds on a final rule known as Phase 1 that calls for truck manufacturers to achieve a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions and 20 percent increase in fuel economy during model years 2014-2018.

Phase 2 goes beyond the tractor and engine, bringing trailers and rolling resistance into the mix to achieve another 20-23 percent savings by model year 2027. Savings can be achieved in ways that provide some level of choices for the manufacturers.

The comment period is open through Sept. 17.

Stakeholders and the public can comment in various ways. When submitting comments, refer to Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2014-0827 for EPA and NHTSA-2014-0132 for NHTSA.

File online at regulations.gov; by email to a-and-r-docket@epa.gov; or by mail to EPA at Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail code: 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20460; and to NHTSA at Docket Management Facility, M–30, U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. S.E., Washington, DC 20590.

See related story:
What you need to know about the latest greenhouse gas proposal

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