By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Senate voted 50-49 to overturn Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that aim to drastically cut smog- and soot-forming emissions from heavy-duty trucks but the White House said President Joe Biden would veto the measure.
The bill, which was backed by Republicans and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, seeks to repeal the Biden administration rule finalized in December.
Republicans argue it was overly challenging to implement, would make trucks cost prohibitive for small business owners, and increase supply chain costs. The White House said the rule “cuts pollution, boosts public health, and advances environmental justice.”
Under the Congressional Review Act, a simple majority vote in both chambers of Congress can reverse recently finalized rules. The House of Representatives has not yet voted on the bill.
The new standards, the first update to clean air standards for heavy duty trucks in more than two decades, are 80% more stringent than current standards.
The EPA estimates by 2045, the rule will result up to 2,900 annual fewer premature deaths, 1.1 million fewer lost school days for children and $29 billion in annual net benefits.
Republican Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska, who is leading the effort to repeal the rule, said it would “drive up costs for consumers, increase vehicle costs, and hurt good-paying jobs.”
The new EPA rules target heavy-duty truck and engine manufacturers by tightening yearly emissions limits and changing key provisions of existing rules to ensure emissions reductions in long-term road use. The rules toughen test procedures, regulatory useful life requirements and emission-related warranties.
“It’s really important, especially for protecting the health of the 72 million people living near truck freight routes in America,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan told Reuters in December.
The rule would reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by as much as 48% by 2045, he added.
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