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AG Nessel files motion to defend EPA's new emissions rules

air pollution crisis in city from diesel vehicle exhaust pipe on road
Akhararat _Wathanasing/toa555 Adobe Stock
Pollution from a truck.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a group of more than 20 state attorneys general and four cities in filing a motion to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s new emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. The rules will reduce the amount of emissions those vehicles can emit. The EPA is facing a federal lawsuit aiming to stop the regulations.

EPA released the final standards this March. The agency says the new rules will reduce around one billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions starting with model year 2027. The new standards will phase in from 2027 to 2032.

Twenty-five Republican Attorneys General have filed a lawsuit to block the rule, arguing the EPA was overreaching its authority.

In a statement, Nessel’s office said the rules will result in “$10 billion annual climate benefits, $300 million in annual non-greenhouse gas public health benefits, and $3.5 billion in annual operational savings for the trucking industry over the lifetime of these vehicles.” Nessel said the rules would allow for “cleaner air for Michiganders to enjoy the Great Lakes State while unlocking innovation in cleaner technologies.”

Critics say the trucking industry doesn’t have the infrastructure or technology available to comply with the new regulations.

Bentley Johnson is the Federal Government Affairs Director for the Michigan League of Conservation voters. He said regulations can inspire innovation.

“They set the bar and then our companies, our private sector really works to meet the bar,” he said. “That spurs a lot of innovation. It spurs a lot of new technology and products.”

Johnson also pointed to other government initiatives such as the up to $40,000 Commercial Clean Vehicle Credit, as tools to help private industry keep up with new regulations.

“Communities like in Southwest Detroit, where there's really heavy truck traffic in a freight corridor because there's bridges and tunnels that go back and forth across the border with Canada. So those, those communities that are dealing with pollution," he said.

The Michigan Trucking Association did not provide comment.

A spokesperson with the EPA said, “Because this is pending litigation, EPA has no further information to add.”

Elinor Epperson contributed to this story.

A.J. Jones is a newsroom intern and graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Sources say he owns a dog named Taffy.