DC Update: State AGs Urge EPA To Save Emissions Rules; SCOTUS Won’t Review Challenge to ELDs
A report on government actions that could affect the remote-production industry
Last Friday, 13 Democratic attorneys general sent a letter to the EPA stating that they will take legal action against the agency if it weakens auto-emissions rules. The letter cites “critical public-health concerns and environmental benefits” as reasons to abstain from weakening or delaying the current standards for model years 2022-25. No word yet on if or how EPA will respond.
Two new notices of proposed rulemaking that emerged last Friday attempt to address the nation’s truck-driver shortage. One waives certain requirements for those who operate commercial vehicles in the military, and the other allows states to extend the validity of learner permits from six months to one year.
On Monday, the Supreme Court decided that it will not review the Seventh Circuit’s decision against the challenge brought by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to FMCSA’s rule on electronic logging devices. Larger organizations, such as the American Trucking Associations, backed FMSCA in the case. OOIDA says it will now “continue to pursue the issue on the congressional side,” because the rule may have detrimental impacts on smaller trucking companies. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of this effort.
Also on Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he supports Rep. Bill Shuster’s plan to separate air-traffic–control operations from the FAA. Although Ryan’s support helps move the plan forward, it is unlikely that the plan will receive the needed support from Democrats.
On Tuesday, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman told reporters that DHS is continuing to engage with officials in Europe and elsewhere about increasing security measures as a way to avoid a ban on large electronics on U.S.-bound flights. If airports are willing to meet the minimum standards as determined by Secretary John Kelly to mitigate risks from explosives in electronics, DHS would not impose a ban. The offer also stands for the Middle Eastern and African airports on which the ban is currently imposed.
Driverless cars and trucks came back into the spotlight on Wednesday at a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee. Committee leaders from both parties established a package of legislative principles to assist them in developing policy for testing and deployment of the technology. Among the top priorities for the lawmakers are safety, innovation, cyber security, and consumer education. Although there is no date or deadline for introducing legislation, these principles indicate that Congress is attempting to engage on the topic, which has mostly been driven by the industry and states so far.
Thursday marked the 108-day countdown until DOT appropriations run out. The FAA reauthorization expires in 108 days, and highway and transit policy is up for renewal in 1,204 days.
Next week will mark the 20-day countdown until August recess. Watch for next week’s DC Update to see how Congress acts on these and other issues.