Trucking, shipping leaders tell DEP: Do not adopt Calif.’s heavy-duty on-highway emissions standards

Leaders at 13 prominent organizations representing cars, trucks, shipping and logistics sent an open letter to Shawn LaTourette, the acting commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, warning against the state adopting California’s heavy-duty on-highway emission regulations.

Those regulations, which the DEP has indicated it wants to implement, include both California’s Advanced Clean Trucks Rule (which mandates the sales of zero-emission vehicles) and its Omnibus Low-NOx Rule (which only allows the sale of engines meeting ultra-low NOx emission standards and a wide range of extremely stringent additional requirements).

The group noted it supports many of the state’s climate change and clean energy goals — but said these regulations go too far.

“The adoption of the California rules is highly problematic for New Jersey,” they wrote. “Those rules were designed for California’s unique and extreme air quality problems. They require manufacturers to sell ZEVs and ultra-low emission products, but have no corresponding requirement that anyone buy them.

“The California rules will result in huge increases in the cost of a truck; costs that greatly exceed any possible corresponding environmental benefits. The sophisticated purchasers of commercial vehicles — businesspeople who invest their capital in trucks that must earn them a profit — likely will keep their old, higher-emitting products longer or will buy out of state.

“Truck customers will not purchase new ‘California’ vehicles until their costs are more in line with the cost of otherwise available diesel trucks and without first being assured that the necessary refueling/recharging infrastructure is in place.”

(Story continues below letter.)

On a day LaTourette was formally nominated to be the permanent head of the department, the group said more must be done — and should be done — at the federal level.

“The key to implementing a successful regulatory-driven ZEV future for commercial vehicles is through the implementation of a national rule, which must include funding to both build out the necessary infrastructure and to provide the incentives needed to offset the higher initial purchase and life-cycle operating costs of ZEVs,” they said. “A national program will provide a level playing field and will avoid New Jersey businesses losing sales and jobs to neighboring states.”

The group noted its support for various N.J. programs and initiatives.

“We strongly believe that ZEVs are the future of the HDOH commercial vehicle marketplace,” they wrote. “We are very interested in seeing New Jersey take a leadership role in further developing HDOH ZEVs through incentive-based programs and, most important, in developing the necessary ZEV refueling/recharging infrastructure.

“But, we oppose NJDEP’s premature plans to accelerate the deployment of HDOH ZEVs through the adoption of California’s rules.”

Here’s what the state should do instead, they said.

“NJDEP should focus its efforts in working with us and other stakeholders, as well as the Governor’s Office, the Legislature, and the Economic Development Authority to incentivize the market for ZEVs,” they wrote. “We all also ought to support (President Joe) Biden’s administration’s national efforts on climate change and clean energy and encourage EPA to implement appropriate national standards.

“Rushing ahead to adopt California’s rules in New Jersey will lead to major unintended negative consequences that will hurt the economy, the environment and will set back, not advance, New Jersey’s goals. While we support New Jersey’s efforts to move towards a ZEV future for commercial vehicles, adopting the California Rules is not the answer.”

The letter was signed by the following:

  • Jed Mandel, president, Truck and Engine Manufacturers;
  • Gail Toth, executive director, New Jersey Motor Truck Association;
  • Jim Cobb, director of government affairs, New York Shipping Association;
  • Bill Sullivan, executive vice president of advocacy, American Trucking Associations;
  • Ray Cantor, vice president for government affairs, New Jersey Business & Industry Association;
  • Eric Raphael, president, New Jersey School Bus Contractors Association;
  • Carol Katz, government affairs, Bus Association of New Jersey;
  • Sal Risalvato, executive director, New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store and Automotive Association;
  • Jacqueline Gelb, vice president for government relations, Navistar International Corp.;
  • Sean Waters, vice president of product compliance and regulatory affairs, Daimler Trucks North America;
  • Dawn Fenton, vice president of government relations and public affairs, Volvo Group North America;
  • Steve Rush, president, Carbon Express;
  • Jim O’Leary, vice president for fleet services, NFI.