Attorney General Hector Balderas
ALBUQUERQUE — Joining a coalition of 15 Attorneys General, AG Balderas Thursday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over an order issued on former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s final day in office.
The order effectively suspends the EPA’s 2016 Glider Rule for a year. The Glider Rule mandates that most engines installed in “gliders” – new heavy-duty truck bodies outfitted with refurbished or rebuilt pre-2010 highly polluting engines – meet the same emissions standards applicable to all newly manufactured engines.
The EPA committed to take no action to enforce the Glider Rule’s annual manufacturing cap of 300 gliders per company. This cap is meant to protect our air from the excessive smog-forming and particulate-matter pollution emitted by outdated engines. On July 13, 2018, AG Balderas demanded from the EPA an immediate withdrawal of its order suspending the Glider Rule. Because the EPA failed to act, the coalition of attorneys general is filing today’s lawsuit and an emergency motion asking the court to promptly overturn the EPA’s order or halt the order’s effect until the court can rule on the merits of the lawsuit.
“The EPA’s failure – once again – to enforce its own laws and respect its own mission is unfortunate,” Balderas said. “I will not allow this failure to result in increased air pollution for New Mexican children and families. This lawsuit makes clear what the Environmental Protection Agency under Scott Pruitt failed to realize – that people are more important than the profits of giant, out of state corporations.”
The action taken on former Administrator Pruitt’s last day will allow the sale of trucks that produce many times more emissions of hazardous pollutants than new, more fuel efficient trucks. Emissions from these high-polluting trucks are linked to asthma, low birth weight, infant mortality, and lung cancer. In California and elsewhere, the rest of the trucking industry has already made substantial investments to comply with stringent emissions standards. These industries would face an uneven playing field if forced to compete against unregulated, high-polluting glider manufacturers who avoid such investments.
The Environmental Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club have filed a separate lawsuit against the EPA on this matter. Wednesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of these environmental groups and granted an administrative stay, which means that the order issued on former EPA Administrator Pruitt’s final day in office will be temporarily blocked until both parties – the environmental groups and the EPA – complete briefing on the environmental groups’ emergency motion. The coalition of Attorneys General is filing its own lawsuit due to the irreparable harm that the states and their citizens would suffer if the EPA’s order were allowed to stand.
Joining Attorney General Balderas in filing this lawsuit are the Attorneys General of Attorneys General of California, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia. The California Air Resources Board, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection are also part of the coalition.