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Lawmakers and advocates press the Environmental Protection Agency to release strict rules on emissions from heavy-duty trucks

As the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai wraps up, Democratic lawmakers and clean-air advocates are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to release strict rules on emissions from heavy-duty trucks. The agency is expected to act in the next few months. Suzanne Potter with California News Service has more.

California Senator Alex Padilla says big rigs using diesel fuel are chocking the air with smog and soot, especially in Black and brown communities close to major freeways.

"Despite only 10 percent of the vehicles on the road being heavy-duty vehicles, they produce over a quarter of the transportation sectors' greenhouse gas emissions, and over half of all particulate matter. This has to be a priority area for the EPA and for all of us."

Padilla would like the feds to adopt rules similar to a deal struck between industry and regulators in California. Last year, the state required newer model engines on diesel trucks weighing more than 14-thousand pounds. In January, companies will have to start disclosing their use of these types of trucks. And in 2036, it becomes illegal to sell new diesel buses or heavy-duty trucks in California. Trucking companies say a national standard would be very costly and impractical since the U.S. lacks a national charging network.

Bill Magavern is a policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air.

"We have solutions. And we need leadership to accelerate the deployment of that zero-emission technology onto our roads because it's human beings who are being hurt by the pollution coming from diesel trucks, and it's also affecting our entire climate."

California's first heavy-duty E-V charging port is up and running in Long Beach, with more set to open soon in Bakersfield, Gardena and San Bernardino.

Suzanne Potter is a journalist with 30 years of experience as a reporter for TV, radio and print news. She spent 15 years as a local TV news reporter in Palm Springs, CA and Providence, RI. She earned a B.A. in Mass Communications from UC Berkeley and spent a year at the Sorbonne in Paris. She lives in Palm Desert, CA, is married with four children and is a longtime leader with the Boy Scouts of America.