- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday permitted a loophole for certain kinds of diesel trucks (called "glider" trucks) notorious for "super polluting," The Hill reported.
- The report also noted there will be no cap on the manufacture of said glider trucks, despite their widespread condemnation from environmental and health advocates.
- According to Ken Catalfamo, a senior consultant for logistics at Maine Pointe, the major reason for the loophole is to alleviate pressure on small trucking companies, who often can't afford the necessary adjustments for glider trucks to limit emissions.
Green energy and technological streamlining are the future, and many companies along the supply chain with robust R&D departments and capital are pursuing various green energy options and tech advancements with gusto. Third party logistics providers (3PL) are investing in fully electric trucks or hydrogen-electric trucks, and the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate intends to reduce paper waste in the trucking industry by digitizing internal operations.
But small companies are at a disadvantage. They often don't have the monetary resources necessary to comply with some regulatory demands. Just last week, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to allow an ELD exemption for small trucking companies on account of the financial strain. The exemption was denied.
"For them, they are very, very small businesses and for them to get in compliance can be really devastating to them," Catalfamo said. "The bigger fleets can sustain themselves."
On the emissions side, Catalfamo told Supply Chain Dive that diesel "scrubbers" are devices that limit the amount of toxic fumes emitting from the "super polluting" diesel trucks.
"That technology has been in place for a number of years on the maritime side, and scrubbing diesel emissions is a pretty well known practice," he said. "Taking it from maritime to the on-road side of the equation, diesel emissions have been, I'd say, aggressive targets but for years."
Exemptions for truckers in a variety of cases, he said, are "not uncommon" due to the range of trucking needs and so much regulation.
"I do know a number of owner-operators that are going out of business because of the EPA rules and the ultra low diesel emissions and the change in specs and requirements and the scrubbers," Catalfamo said. "I know one who had a scrubber that had gone bad and it was a $4,200 expense to keep it going."
While the loophole may not be conducive toward advancing green energy solutions for supply chains and the trucking industry, regulators often balance those initiatives with business needs, especially if regulations put smaller companies at a disadvantage.