EPA formalizes relief measures for truck gliders, revisits Waters rule

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to undo the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach by repealing application of the Medium- and Heavy-Duty Truck Phase II Greenhouse Gas Emission and Fuel Efficiency standards for the glider industry. Gliders for mixer trucks and other heavy-duty on/off or on-highway vehicles are assembled from newly manufactured kits that include the frame and cab, to which a used engine, transmission and axles are added.

“The previous administration attempted to bend the rule of law and expand the reach of the federal government in a way that threatened to put an entire industry of specialized truck manufacturers out of business,” says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “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.”

Due to the unique way that gliders are manufactured, the agency is proposing that gliders should not be regulated as “new motor vehicles” or “new motor vehicle engines” under section 202(a)(1) of the Clean Air Act. This action does not affect nor propose to affect EPA’s authority to address heavy-duty engine rebuilding practices under Clean Air Act section 202(a)(3)(D). EPA estimates that about 10,000 gliders are manufactured annually, comprising less than 5 percent of the Class 8 heavy-duty truck market. A public comment period for the proposal will be open through January 5.


EPA and the U.S. Department of the Army propose to amend the effective date of the 2015 rule defining “Waters of the United States” until at least 2019, buying the agencies time to reconsider the scope of a contentious action that arose during the prior administration’s second term.

“[The] proposal shows our commitment to state and tribal partners and to providing regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and businesses,” affirms EPA Administrator Pruitt. “This step will allow us to minimize confusion as we continue to receive input from across the country on how we should revise the definition of the ‘waters of the United States.’”

“The Army, together with the Army Corps of Engineers, propose this rule with EPA to help continue to provide clarity and predictability to the regulated public during the rule making process. We are committed to implementing the Clean Water Act Section 404 regulatory program as transparently as possible for the regulated public,” adds Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Ryan Fisher.

The 2015 rule redefined the scope of where the Clean Water Act applies, and had an effective date of August that year; implementation is currently on hold as a result of a Sixth Circuit District Court’s nationwide stay of the rule, although that action may be affected by a pending Supreme Court case. The 2015 rule is also stayed in 13 states due to a North Dakota District Court ruling. Among parties who sought relief from the federal courts were the Portland Cement Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who argued that the rule exceeded EPA and Army Corps of Engineers authority under the Clean Water Act, and violated the Administrative Procedure and Regulatory Flexibility Acts.

The recently proposed rule follows a February 2017 Presidential Executive Order titled “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The order contends that it is in the national interest to ensure that the Nation’s navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of Congress and the states under the Constitution.

The EPA and Army proposal is separate from a two-step process the agencies propose to take to reconsider the 2015 rule. The comment period for the Step 1 rule closed in September and the agencies are currently working to review public input. The agencies scheduled listening sessions with stakeholders as EPA and Army representatives work to develop a proposed Step 2 rule that would revise the “waters of the United States” definition. EPA and Army staff will be collecting public comment on the second proposal and plan to move quickly to take final action in early 2018.