SCOOP: EPA Reverses Course, Will Now Enforce Obama-Era Regulations On Used Trucks

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew a “no action assurance” notice that delayed enforcement of an Obama admnistration-era regulation the agency is working to repeal, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler decided current regulations limiting the sale of glider kits — refurbished truck engines placed into new bodies — did not warrant a delay in enforcement, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The reversal comes after the D.C. Circuit Court issued an interim stay against the notice, signaling to the Trump administration it would side with environmentalists and states that challenged the agency.

It’s only the latest setback in the Trump administration’s effort to save an industry it sees as being the victim of collusion between EPA bureaucrats, environmentalists and big business interests.

EPA issued a “no action assurance” notice on glider kits in early July, the same day former Administrator Scott Pruitt left office. Pruitt resigned amid multiple investigations into alleged ethics violations.

A coalition of environmental groups, 18 states and the District of Columbia quickly sued to overturn EPA’s enforcement delay. The D.C. District Court issued an interim stay on EPA’s non-enforcement order.

EPA will continue to work on repealing glider kit regulations, but a final repeal plan could take another two months or so to be released, a source familiar with the matter told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The Tennessee-based Fitzgerald Glider Kits, the largest glider kit producer, petitioned EPA in June 2017 to rescind the regulation. Pruitt granted the petition and issued a proposed rule in November.

EPA has been working to repeal Obama administration-era glider regulations for months, but hurdles just seem to keep getting in the way. Agency officials have dragged their feet on finalizing the repeal and the White House made EPA do a cost-benefit analysis that slowed the process down.

All the while, emails suggest lobbyists with truck manufacturers opposed to repealing glider regulations colluded with career EPA officials to undermine the Trump administration’s agenda.

Emails obtained by JunkScience.com publisher Steve Milloy show EPA officials at the agency’s vehicle emissions lab worked with Volvo lobbyists to obtain glider kits for a study used by opponents to oppose repealing truck regulations. (RELATED: Emails Suggest EPA Officials Colluded With Lobbyists To Thwart Trump’s Agenda)

The study put out by EPA officials in late 2017 bore no official agency markings, was never peer-reviewed and was done without the knowledge of senior staff in D.C.

EPA never released the study, but somehow Volvo lobbyist Susan Alt obtained a copy of the research findings, which she touted during a public hearing last year on EPA’s proposed repeal of glider regulations.

Volvo is one of several major truck manufacturers opposed to repealing regulations on glider kits, which are substantially cheaper to buy than trucks with new engines. Volvo joined environmentalists in lobbying the Obama administration to regulate glider kits in 2016.

The Obama administration issued regulations on glider kits in 2016 by reclassifying them as “new motor vehicles.” Gliders are refurbished truck engines placed inside a new chassis.

Regulations place severe limits on annual glider kit sales. Fitzgerald says the glider sales restrictions are forcing them to shrink their business and lay off employees.

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