Surprise! More NOx Regulations Coming From EPA

In a regulatory environment where a pause, if not rollbacks, seem to be the order of the day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) surprised many with its announcement that it is going after another level of diesel NOx emissions reduction from on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines.

To be clear, the announcement, made on November 13, is about EPA’s intention to publish a proposed diesel NOx emissions reduction regulation. That proposed rule is expected in early 2020. So, no details yet.

EPA said this follows petitions for a rulemaking on this issue from over 20 organizations including state and local air agencies.

More information on the petitions and EPA’s response can be found here.

The new initiative is called the Cleaner Trucks Initiative (CTI). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said CTI was launched to further decrease nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines.

The CTI will include a future rulemaking that will update the existing NOx standard which was last set in 2001, while also streamlining compliance and certification requirements, according to EPA’s announcement.

According to EPA, from 2007 to 2017, U.S. NOx emissions dropped by more than 40 percent, “but there is more work to be done,” the agency said in making the announcement. ”It is estimated that heavy-duty trucks will be responsible for one-third of NOx emissions from the transportation sector in 2025. EPA expects that any update to the standards will result in significant mobile source NOx reductions, which will aid communities across the country in the attainment of ozone and particulate matter standards.

EPA said it last revised NOx standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines in January 2001. The agency said it is not required by statue to update the standard.

In addition to NOx emissions standards, the EPA said CTI will cut unnecessary red tape while simplifying certification of compliance requirements for heavy-duty trucks and engines. Areas of deregulatory focus will include onboard diagnostic requirements, cost-effective means of reassuring real world compliance by using modern and advanced technologies, the deterioration factor testing process, and concerns regarding annual recertification of engine families. 

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“The Cleaner Trucks Initiative will help modernize heavy-duty truck engines, improving their efficiency and providing cleaner air for all Americans,” said Wheeler“The U.S. has made major reductions in NOx emissions, but it’s been nearly 20 years since EPA updated these standards. Through rulemaking and a comprehensive review of existing requirements, we will capitalize on these gains and incentivize new technologies to ensure our heavy-duty trucks are clean and remain a competitive method of transportation.”

“Today’s announcement makes clear that reducing NOx emissions from heavy-duty vehicles is a clean air priority for this administration,” said EPA Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum. “EPA’s Cleaner Trucks Initiative is an important signal to all interested stakeholders that we will work hard on reducing emissions while producing a more effective and efficient program.”

For more information: about the Cleaner Trucks click here

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