A D.C. District Court just sewed up an EPA loophole
It’s Thursday, July 19, and a D.C. District Court just sewed up an EPA loophole.
You may have heard that, after a bazillion scandals, Scott Pruitt is no longer the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. However, on his very last day, the beleaguered cabinet official handed industry one last win. With the help of a loophole, he decided not to enforce existing EPA standards for “super-polluting” trucks. EPA’s acting head Andrew Wheeler then decided to preserve Pruitt’s decision when he took office.
But a D.C. appeals court ruled to suspend that move yesterday, blocking Pruitt’s attempt to deliver a parting suckerpunch to the environment. The Environmental Defense Fund, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club filed the motion to suspend, and plan to present a case to the court to reverse the EPA’s decision entirely.
The trucks in question, called gliders, are considered super-polluting because they’re made by putting old diesel engines into brand new freight truck chassis. Putting old engines in new trucks means gliders are roughly 25 percent cheaper than cleaner, modern trucks.
What’s the real cost of cheaper gliders? EPA testing found that they emit 450 times more particulate pollution than their modern counterparts. And an an analysis from the EDF found that Pruitt’s decision could lead to 1,700 premature deaths.
If environmental groups have their way, gliders will be a thing of the past before Pruitt’s multiple ethics investigations are resolved.
Looks like a national price on pollution isn’t happening soon. In a resolution passed today, the House of Representatives denounced a carbon fee, saying it would be bad for the economy. The result doesn’t portend well for a Republican-backed carbon tax expected to be introduced next week by Carlos Curbelo, a House Republican and 2017 Grist 50 member.
When it comes to lobbying, the fossil fuel industry is outspending environmentalists big time — by a factor of 10. A new report from a Drexel University sociology professor found that more than $2 billion was spent lobbying Congress on climate legislation between 2000 and 2016. But funds supporting fossil fuel interests drowned out cash from environmental groups and renewable energy boosters.
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