The EPA announced proposed limits on tailpipe emissions from semis, buses, and other heavy duty vehicles on Monday, which it says will prevent as many as 2,100 premature deaths and 18,000 cases of childhood asthma every year. The proposed regulations would require a 90% reduction in smog-forming and respiratory problem-inducing nitrogen oxide pollution from new trucks by 2031. EPA would also slightly strengthen greenhouse gas pollution limits from some heavy-duty vehicles, including school and transit buses and commercial delivery trucks.
Despite making up a relatively small number of vehicles, heavy duty vehicles produce not only a significant amount of pollution, but that pollution disproportionately harms historically excluded communities due to a myriad of inequalities, including racist siting of highways and industrial facilities. “Seventy-two million people are estimated to live near truck freight routes in America, and they are more likely to be people of color and those with lower incomes,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. In addition to the proposed safeguards, Vice President Harris released plans Monday to invest in cleaner transportation alternatives, including $7 billion for electric buses and another $10 billion to replace diesel buses with “cleaner,” though not necessarily electric, options. (EPA proposal: Washington Post $, AP, The Verge, The Hill, New York Times $, Axios, Wall Street Journal $, E&E News, Politico Pro $; School buses: Gizmodo)