Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Nation's biggest truck re-manufacturer says White House delay on pollution rule is endangering hundreds of rural jobs

Tommy Fitzgerald Sr. and Jr. with Trump during his 2016 campaign
The nation's largest truck re-manufacturer, in line for a crucial break from the Trump administration, says the White House is slow-walking the move in response to lobbying from other truck makers, putting hundreds of rural jobs at risk

"There is no doubt that Volvo, a foreign truck manufacturer, whose largest shareholder is Chinese, has lobbied for the limits and ban of gliders and is now lobbying against the repeal," Tommy Fitzgerald of Byrdstown, Tenn., told Bill Estep of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky.

Fitzgerald makes glider trucks "by combining a new cab and chassis with an older, rebuilt engine — as well as a transmission and usually a rear axle — from wrecked or worn-out trucks," Estep explains. Gliders were once exempt from federal emission limits, but in the Obama administration the Environmental Protection Agency abolished that exemption. Now the Trump EPA wants to go back to the old rule, but the White House Office of Management and Budget has delayed that, saying EPA did not do an analysis of the regulatory impact, Fitzgerald lobbyist Jon Toomey told Estep. OMB "did not respond to a question on whether it is considering letting the repeal go through without a regulatory analysis," Estep reports.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/article212326704.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/article212326704.html#storylink=cpy

Google map, adapted, shows Fitzgerald plant locations.
Fitzgerald's foes argue that gliders don't have the latest safety equipment, that "glider makers shouldn’t be allowed to benefit from a loophole at the expense of businesses that make, sell and use cleaner-running trucks, and which keeps higher-polluting trucks on the road," and that "the glider market traditionally was limited to salvaging usable engines from wrecked trucks," Estep notes. "However, glider production shot up after the first phase of the emissions rule went into effect on new trucks."

That happened because “some companies exploited the opportunity to offer glider vehicles with older ‘pre-emissions’ engines to customers seeking to avoid modern emissions control systems,” Volvo said in a letter to the EPA, which also pointed out that it employs thousands in the U.S. Fitzgerald has cited his employment of 700 people at plants in Tennessee, supported by hundreds of others at supplier plants, and his plans to open a plant in Kentucky. Fitzgerald says he is in his second round of layoffs and has "told the government his company would have to slash production by 90 percent by the end of 2018 under the rule," Estep reports.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/article212326704.html#storylink=cpy

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