A long-awaited rule to reduce dangerous emissions from heavy-duty trucks and buses was announced by the Biden administration earlier this week. Climate and environmental justice advocates say the proposal isn’t enough.

In particular, critics are frustrated that the administration is looking to gradually curb diesel exhaust pollution as opposed to advancing zero-emission vehicles.

“The Biden administration can set a course to rapidly shift to zero emissions trucks, and they should use every available tool to do so and protect public health,” said Angelo Logan, campaign director of the Moving Forward Network, in a statement.

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The 72 million Americans who live near truck freight routes are routinely exposed to air pollution that causes a wide range of health problems. While the EPA’s proposal would reduce smog-forming emissions from trucks by up to 60 percent by 2045, advocates say people will still suffer, and that’s not acceptable. 

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“It misses the opportunity to advance zero emission trucks at the pace needed to address the urgent public health crisis facing environmental justice communities,” said Patricio Portillo, a transportation analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement.

Climate advocates also faulted the administration for not doing more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the EPA’s plan does tighten greenhouse gas emission standards for certain types of vehicles, the agency will wait to pursue stronger standards for heavy-duty trucks later, in a separate proposal.

The EPA intends to finalize the plan announced Monday by the end of 2022. The agency is accepting public comments until mid-April.

“We will be urging the Biden administration to rethink its approach and set an ambitious course,” said Paul Cort, director of Earthjustice’s Right to Zero campaign, in a statement. “EPA’s new trucks rule could do so much more to set us on the right path and electrify the dirtiest vehicles on the road.” 

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