New regulations under consideration by the Trump administration would further restrict emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from large trucks, according to The Hill. The consideration process will formally start this week at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The move would represent a break for an administration that has consistently aimed to roll back regulations, rather than tightening them.
NOx contributes to ozone pollution, which can cause respiratory problems, especially in children and the elderly, and for those with lung diseases such as asthma. Long-term exposure to ozone pollution is thought to be one cause of asthma development. Studies also suggest that long-term exposure increases the likelihood of death from respiratory issues.
NOx is emitted from diesel engines, such as those used by large trucks. In 2016, state and local governments, led by California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, petitioned Obama’s EPA to lower the allowable limit of NOx emissions by 90 percent. New York City, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Los Angeles, and Washington State also signed the petition.
Later that year, the EPA said it would consider the petition, and the trucking industry voiced support for such a measure. The industry has said it supports national measures, in order to avoid facing a complex patchwork of standards in different states.
Obama’s EPA said it acknowledged “a need for additional NOx reductions from on-highway heavy-duty engines, particularly in areas of the country with elevated levels of air pollution.”
At the time, the EPA said such rules could go into effect in 2024. And on Monday, an EPA official said the regulations might not be announced until 2020. Officially, the announcement is still pending, and the EPA official asked not to be identified. However, the EPA did say in a statement that it had planned a formal announcement for Tuesday, regarding its “Cleaner Trucks Initiative.”
Reuters initially reported the plans on Monday.
California has set its own NOx emissions limits for the state. However, the state is also calling for national limits, since most trucks delivering goods in California are registered in other states.
The current rules have been in place since 2000, gradually taking effect over the next ten years.
Following a scandal in which Volkswagen was found to have been using software to deceive emissions tests, the new regulations may include special procedures to ensure vehicles are meeting standards during real-world driving.