Senators petition EPA to withdraw Phase 3 GHG regs

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Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, May 31, 2023:

Senators ask EPA to withdraw proposed Phase 3 GHG emissions regs

A contingent of U.S. senators last week penned a letter to EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, asking the agency to withdraw proposed emissions regulations. The letter follows more than 150 House Republicans sending a letter to Regan earlier last week.

The two suggested rules, "Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model Years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles" and "Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Heavy-Duty Vehicles -- Phase 3," would mandate a transition to electric cars and trucks in the absence of Congressional direction, the letter states. 

The senators allege the regs would violate the precedent set by the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency in 2022. The court then ruled that the EPA cannot force wholesale change to "substantially restructure the American energy market" without explicit Congressional authorization. 

"The heavy-duty vehicle rule will require 40% of sales of zero-emission vehicles by 2032, up from a mere 0.1% globally for heavy-duty trucks and 4% globally for bus fleets," the letter said. "If finalized, these proposals will effectively require a wholesale conversion from powering vehicles with widely available liquid fuel to charging BEVs off our nation's electric grid. This is a major, multi-billion-dollar, policy-driven technology transition mandate to be imposed on American consumers by your agency, without any semblance of the clear and direct statutory authority required by the ruling in West Virginia v. EPA." 

Additionally, the senators said they are concerned about the ability of the American electric grid to support more electric vehicles. It cites an American Transportation Research Institute study that found that full-scale electrification of the transportation fleet would require generation and transmission capacity equal to more than 40% of the current electric demand. 

Senators are also concerned about increasing regulation on electric power generation. 

Because of heavy batteries and therefore decreased payloads, the letter also noted that a shift to heavy-duty electric vehicles may increase the number of heavy-duty vehicles on the road, which could have implications for highway safety and traffic congestion. 

The EPA's proposals do not coordinate with the U.S. Department of Transportation on these and other issues, the letter added, with American infrastructure possibly being ill-equipped to handle the increased weight of electric vehicles. 

The letter is signed by 27 Republican U.S. senators, led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia), who is the ranking member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Estes opens new terminal in California

Estes Express Lines (CCJ Top 250, No. 11) recently opened a new, state-of-the-art terminal in Banning, California. The new terminal expands the Richmond, Virginia-based carrier's growth on the West Coast. 

The 39-acre terminal is located about 30 miles east of Riverside near Interstate 10.   

Among its sustainable features are all-electric forklifts, one of the first terminals in the Estes network to employ the technology. It also is home to eight electric tractors.

The new terminal has 133 doors and a three-bay shop.

Estes said the new location features energy-efficient interior and exterior lighting throughout the terminal and uses 85% less electricity than conventional lighting.

Saia opens new Indiana terminal

Saia Inc. (CCJ Top 250, No. 21) announced recently the opening of its new Saia LTL Freight terminal in Muncie, Indiana.

“Our new Muncie terminal will add capacity to our network, allowing us to provide enhanced service because of closer customer proximity,” said Jared Mull, Saia vice president of operations, East. “By reducing stem time, or the time between when our drivers leave the terminal until they make their first pickup or delivery, we will be able to provide faster service, especially to those shippers located east of Indianapolis.” 

Muncie is a hub for regional commerce and home to Ball State University. As the largest city of East Central Indiana, an area consisting of 10 counties, Muncie is an important market for Saia, one that hosts a large customer base where economic growth is anticipated, the company said. 

“With the opening of this new facility, we expect improved transit times,” Mull added. “On average, we will be 20% closer to our current customers, so it really will be a win-win, both for us and them.” 

The Muncie facility is the fifth terminal the company has opened since the beginning of the year. In late April, the company opened a facility northeast of Atlanta. In February, Saia opened terminals near Kansas City, Kansas, and in Morgantown and Princeton, West Virginia.

Navistar recalls 4,000 trucks over lights issue

Navistar is recalling more than 4,000 trucks, with model years dating back as far as 2001, for an issue with the trucks’ lights, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

The recall affects approximately 4,030 model year 2001-2003 International 9100i; 2004-2009 International 9200i; 2009, 2011-2012, 2017 International ProStar; and 2021 International RH trucks.

In the affected units, the back-up lights offer low visibility when the trucks are in reverse while bobtailing. Also, the vehicles have not been equipped with additional unobstructed back-up lights, the recall said. As such, the trucks do not comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment."

Dealers will replace the existing rear stop/turn signal lights, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed July 17. Owners can contact Navistar's customer service at 1-800-448-7825 with recall number 23514. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-353.

Turn signal issue prompts recall of certain Western Star trucks

Daimler Trucks North America is recalling approximately 47 model year 2023 Western Star 57X trucks in which the interior turn signals may flash too quickly and not align with the exterior turn signal flashing. 

Interior turn signals that consistently flash too quickly may not change their flash rate to alert the driver to replace the bulbs, causing the trucks to fall out of compliance with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment."

The remedy is currently under development. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed July 15. Owners may contact DTNA customer service at 1-800-547-0712 with recall number FL975. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-348.