The move was roundly opposed by environmental and conventional trucking groups, including the American Lung Association, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), United Parcel Service and the Volvo Group. But agency officials confirmed to The New York Times that, through the end of 2019, the EPA will not enforce an annual cap of 300 gliders per manufacturer that had been imposed in January.
In November 2017, the agency proposed to repeal certain emissions requirements for gliders.
The glider truck concept began so the engines of relatively new trucks that had been involved in accidents could be transferred to new truck bodies. Last year, Fitzgerald Glider Kits made 3,000 glider trucks. An estimated 10,000 glider trucks were sold nationally in 2015 - about 4 per cent of new heavy-duty truck sales - and production could soon return to that level.
She said EPA took into consideration "public comments received as well as engagement with stakeholders" before determining that "additional evaluation of a number of matters is required before it can take final action on one or more aspects of the [repeal] proposal". First, EPA is considering an extension of the compliance date, which would set a new effective date of December 31, 2019. They noted that the effort to reduce air pollution caused by diesel trucks had been embraced by Democratic and Republican administrations for almost two decades.
Wheeler had been serving as the EPA's second in command since his April confirmation by the Senate, a period of time during which the agency was plagued with headlines-grabbing and ethics-probes-inducing controversies over Pruitt's alleged inappropriate spending, use of staff and relationships with lobbyists.
Pruitt helped decrease red tape that had previously harmed Nebraska farms and businesses, Gov. Pete Ricketts said in a statement.
Pruitt had championed the rollback, claiming that the EPA did not have the legal authority to force companies like Fitzgerald to significantly reduce production of glider trucks. In several instances, reporters who learned where Pruitt would be speaking were removed from the event or denied access. "In 2018, small manufacturers are limited to no more than 300 gliders" by the rule.
The EPA's former administrator, Scott Pruitt, broke with his predecessors' common practices of publishing a calendar online and announcing travel and speeches in advance.
The agency has until July 17 to respond to the committee's request.
A CNN investigation released shortly before Pruitt's departure last week revealed his aides kept "secret" calendars to hide controversial entries, such as meetings with industries regulated by EPA, according to a former EPA official.
Now, President Donald Trump has the chance to nominate someone ethically upstanding to run the EPA into irrelevance.