Pruitt grants loophole to 'super polluting' diesel truck manufacturers on last day at EPA

Pruitt grants loophole to 'super polluting' diesel truck manufacturers on last day at EPA
© Greg Nash

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday granted a loophole to allow increased manufacturing of a kind of diesel freight truck known as “super polluting.”

The move, which came on embattled administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE’s last day on the job, is being harshly criticized by environmentalists and lung health advocates, according to The New York Times.

The EPA confirmed to The Times that through the end of next year, the agency will not enforce a previous cap on manufacturers making "glider trucks," and hopes to permanently repeal the cap.

Glider trucks combine older engines–that do not meet modern emissions requirements–with newer truck bodies. The Times reported that small fleet owners have sought out glider trucks in order to evade emissions regulations, as they are cheaper to run.

Some manufacturers were making thousands of these types of trucks, and will now be permitted to return to those levels.

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Molly Block, a spokeswoman for the EPA, told The Times that the agency is “exercising its enforcement discretion,” allowing companies to ignore the legal limits.

Environmental groups have slammed the move, saying that the loophole will allow for dramatically increased air pollution from diesel trucks.

The move came late Friday, hours after Pruitt submitted his resignation following a series of ethical scandals. Pruitt had long pushed for the loophole, saying that the EPA did not have the authority to tamper with manufacturers’ production.