Lung Association Applauds EPA Decision Granting California Cleaner Trucks Waivers

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced their decision to grant two waivers allowing the state of California to operate programs to clean up pollution from heavy-duty vehicles. The two waivers cover Advanced Clean Trucks, Zero Emission Airport Shuttle, and Zero-Emission Power Train Certification; and Heavy-Duty Vehicle and Engine Emission Warranty and Maintenance Provisions. 

In response, Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, issued the following statement:

“Today’s decision from EPA to grant California’s cleaner trucks waivers is a victory for lung health and a necessary step under the Clean Air Act. Cutting emissions from trucking and other heavy-duty vehicles is vital to improving health, reducing health disparities and reducing climate pollution from the trucking industry. As it has for more than five decades, the Clean Air Act recognizes the compelling and extraordinary air pollution conditions in the state of California and ensures that the state can enact its own standards to regulate motor vehicle emissions. The Lung Association applauds EPA for recognizing California’s legal authority under the Clean Air Act to help protect its residents from deadly truck pollution. 

“Cleaning up trucking pollution is a health and environmental justice imperative. Truck traffic produces harmful pollution, and approximately 45% of residents living in counties with major truck traffic are people of color. Transportation pollution is the dominant source of both climate pollution and smog-forming oxides of nitrogen. The trucking sector is a major source of regional air pollution that threatens health, despite trucks making up a small percentage of the on-road vehicle population. According to the Lung Association’s ‘Delivering Clean Air’ report, in 2020, heavy-duty vehicles represented approximately 6% of the on-road fleet but generated 59% of ozone and particle-forming NOx emissions and 55% of the particle pollution. The report also found that in U.S. counties with major trucking routes, the transition to zero-emission heavy-duty transportation and non-combustion energy by 2050 would result in up to $735 billion in cumulative health benefits and 66,800 avoided deaths. 

“Today’s decision from EPA means that California can continue to implement major regulations adopted to address harmful emissions from trucks. The warranty rules and zero-emission vehicle rules like the Advanced Clean Truck standards combined will save thousands of lives and generate tens of billions in public health benefits, and these benefits will not be confined to just California. We encourage more states to exercise their own Clean Air Act authority to opt in to these standards to bring the health benefits of zero-emission trucks home to their own states. Air pollution does not stop at state lines, and emissions prevented from California and other states with these stronger standards benefit health in surrounding 

areas. We know that these benefits will be most important for communities most impacted by trucking emissions today. These strong state-level standards that drive zero-emission vehicles must also be taken into account as EPA moves to set its new standards for cars and trucks. 

“One cleaner trucks waiver is still pending: California requested an opportunity to respond to late comments on its Heavy Duty Low NOx rule waiver, and therefore EPA is not taking action on that waiver today. The American Lung Association continues to support the Heavy Duty Low NOx rule waiver and urges EPA to grant the waiver as quickly as possible.”  
For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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