EPA didn't conduct required analyses of truck engine rule: internal watchdog

EPA didn't conduct required analyses of truck engine rule: internal watchdog

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not conduct required analyses for a proposed repeal of an Obama-era rule, an internal government watchdog has found

The EPA's inspector general's office said in a report issued Thursday that then-EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 | Commerce Department led 'flawed process' on Sharpiegate, watchdog finds | EPA to end policy suspending pollution monitoring by end of summer Watchdog: EPA hasn't provided 'sufficient justification' for decision not to recover Pruitt travel spending OVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change MORE directed the Office of Air and Radiation to develop the proposed rule "without conducting the analyses required" by executive orders. 

The EPA in 2017 proposed rescinding the part of an Obama-era regulation regarding emission standards for “glider trucks,” or new trucks with older engines that do not meet current air pollution rules.

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The lack of analyses resulted in the public not being informed on the proposed change's "benefits, costs, potential alternatives and impacts on children’s health during the public comment period," the inspector general's report said. 

The report said, citing EPA managers and officials, that Pruitt pushed for the proposed repeal to be put forth "as quickly as possible."

One agency official told the watchdog that Pruitt had requested that all rulemakings be done as quickly as possible. 

The inspector general's office also quoted EPA officials saying that at the time, rulemaking processes were being done “fast and loose,” and describing the atmosphere as the “wild west.”

In response, the agency said it would conduct the required analyses, include them in the public docket and give the public a way to comment on them. 

Pruitt said in a statement when the repeal was pitched that the Obama-era rule "threatened to put an entire industry of specialized truck manufacturers out of business.”

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“Accordingly, the agency is taking comment on an interpretation of the Clean Air Act that recognizes the unique nature of a vehicle made up of both new and used component parts. Gliders not only provide a more affordable option for smaller owners and operators, but also serve as a key economic driver to numerous rural communities,” he added. 

Environmental groups and health groups, however, said the shift would increase emissions.

According to The New York Times, glider trucks produce up to 55 times as much air pollution as trucks with modern emissions controls. 

Pruitt resigned last year amid ethics scandals.