Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 10, 2018

Contact: Vera Pardee, (858) 717-1488,

EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler Urged to Close Glider-truck Pollution Loophole

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Defense Fund and Sierra Club today sent a notice to acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler requesting the withdrawal or administrative stay of the agency’s decision to cease enforcing production caps on heavy-duty “glider” trucks. That decision was made by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on July 6, his last day in office. 

“Opening this dangerous loophole for zombie diesel rigs spells disaster for our lungs and the climate,” said Vera Pardee, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Wheeler’s inaction would confirm that he’s nothing more than a carbon copy of Pruitt, minus the tactical pants and petty grift.”

A “glider” is a heavy-duty diesel truck assembled by installing a used engine and powertrain in a new truck body. Because the engines were built to meet outdated pollution standards, the EPA estimates that glider trucks emit up to 450 times more diesel particulate matter and up to 40 times more smog-forming nitrogen oxides than new trucks on the market.

An existing EPA rule limits glider manufacturers to producing no more than 300 glider vehicles per year exempt from current emissions standards for all other newly sold heavy-duty trucks. Manufacturers can produce unlimited glider trucks with engines that meet the emission standards for the model year in which the glider vehicle is manufactured.

However, the agency quietly announced in a July 6 memo that although that limit remains in place and is the law of the land, glider manufacturers can ignore it. The memo confirms that the EPA is working on a formal proposal to delay the cap until December 2019, by which point it hopes to have permanently repealed the rule.

The memo was issued without any prior public notice or public comment period.

Using the EPA’s own conservative estimates, every year of uncapped glider production could cause up to 1,600 premature deaths from fine particulate matter emissions alone.

“Bizarrely, not enforcing this protection harms the vast majority of truck manufacturers who do comply with the law and benefits only the tiniest, dirtiest sliver of the industry,” Pardee said. “But no polluter profit is too small for the Trump administration to sacrifice our health and environment.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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