President Joe Biden on Wednesday vetoed a Republican-led Congressional resolution to nullify the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions rules for heavy-duty trucks.
Earlier, I vetoed a Republican resolution to repeal an @EPA standard that will make our air cleaner and prevent thousands of premature deaths by limiting hazardous heavy-duty vehicle pollution.— President Biden (@POTUS) June 14, 2023
This would take us backwards in our fight against air pollution, so I'm blocking it. pic.twitter.com/7M5S8rNGFs
The veto, one of six so far in Biden’s first term, keeps in place the EPA’s tightened 2027 model-year standards, which seek to reduce negative public health and environmental effects of nitrogen oxide, or NOx, emissions. The new standards are 80% stronger than current ones, according to the agency.
“If enacted, the resolution would squander $36 billion in benefits to society — and an opportunity to lead on the defining crisis of our time,” the president said in the Congressional record.
A Senate effort to overturn the president’s veto failed to gather the required 2/3 majority. The June 21 vote was 50-50, with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia being the only Democrat to vote in favor.
The EPA’s 1,153-page rule would reduce emissions nationwide by more than 40% by 2040 and more than 50% by 2045, according to the agency. The rule covers a wider range of engine operating conditions than today’s standards, and it requires the standards to be met for a longer period of the time a vehicle is on the road.
The House of Representatives had passed the resolution by an 18-vote margin last month. The vote had been even narrower in the Senate, 50-49, with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein absent in April.
The EPA rule cuts pollution, boosts public health and advances environmental justice in communities across the country, Biden said.
“The resolution would deny communities these health benefits by resulting in weaker emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles and engines, which are significant sources of pollutants that threaten public health,” the president said.
Truck manufacturers and others in the industry have expressed concern about the rule — some apprehensive of the timeline, others downright critical of the EPA — since its announcement in December.
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association President Todd Spencer expressed disappointment about the veto in a statement. The group represents more than 150,000 owner-operators and small business motor carriers.
“While we are disappointed in the President’s decision to veto this bipartisan legislation, we thank the Democrats and Republicans in Congress who put politics aside in support of small business truckers simply trying to navigate wave after wave of EPA regulations,” Spencer said.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the result of an unsuccessful Senate effort to overturn the veto.