EPA’s Newly Released Heavy-Duty Rule is a Small Step in the Right Direction, but there is More Work to be done to Protect the Public from Health-Harming Vehicle Emissions

WASHINGTON D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final rule to reduce harmful Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions from heavy-duty vehicles, requiring an emissions reduction of 50% by 2045. While this is an exciting step in the right direction, the EPA must grant California’s waivers to reinforce states’ authority to set stronger truck and car standards and propose a strong limit on soot pollution.

Maine has a history of adopting high standards for clean transportation and is one of fifteen states that signed a memorandum in 2020 to work towards 30% sales of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles by 2030. This would result in tens of thousands of tons of NOx emissions reductions. Although trucks make up less than 10 percent of vehicles on the road, they release the majority of hazardous air pollutants, including 63% of NOx pollution.

Because of Maine’s rural nature, 85% of Maine communities depend exclusively on freight trucks to move and deliver the goods they need. However, the trucking industry is a leading source of air pollution across the country and ambitious action from the EPA is imperative to protect our health and safety. The Portland-Lewiston-South Portland metro area, for example, ranks in the top 100 most polluted cities in the country for ozone pollution.

Maine Conservation Voters’ Director of Government Affairs Beth Ahearn issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s ruling:

“The final rule, released yesterday by the EPA, is a welcome first step to protect our kids, those on the frontline of pollution, and every single person who wants to breathe cleaner air and live in a healthier community. There is more to be done to accelerate the transition to cleaner trucks and electric vehicles, and we look forward to further action next year from the EPA to continue to make progress.”