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Ranking Member Beyer’s Opening Statement for Glider Truck Regulations Hearing

Sep 13, 2018
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Today, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology’s Subcommittees on Environment and Oversight are holding a joint Subcommittee hearing titled, “Examining the Underlying Science and Impacts of Glider Truck Regulations.”

Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Rep. Don Beyer’s (D-VA), opening statement for the record is below.

Thank you, Chairman Abraham and Chairman Biggs.

The Majority may portray this issue as one of big business vs. small business, since independent glider manufacturers constitute the main opposition to glider regulations. I own a small family-run business myself, so I am sympathetic to the challenges that small businesses face. For the sake of transparency, Volvo Cars – of which my family owns a dealership – has been a distinct entity from the Volvo Group, which sells trucks and construction equipment, since 1999. My family’s business is not involved with Volvo Group, or its trucks.

But our clean air, and the public health should not be jeopardized in order to protect any business, large or small. Glider trucks are new trucks powered by re-manufactured, heavily polluting engines that are not up to today’s standards. Former EPA Administrator Pruitt’s attempt to repeal the glider regulations would endanger the public health in significant and well-documented ways. That is exactly why the American Lung Association, American Medical Association, and other health organizations all opposed the Pruitt EPA attempts to repeal glider regulations.

Though companies like Fitzgerald Glider Kits, the largest manufacturer of glider trucks, may describe themselves as a small business, they have had outsized influence on this political debate. They held a rally for then-candidate Donald Trump, met with former EPA Administrator Pruitt, and have generated multiple Congressional letters.

The Majority has chosen to focus solely on discrediting one glider emissions study performed at the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory. However, the Majority has not invited an EPA witness today to address the allegations they have made about that study – and, the EPA refused to even brief Minority staff on it when asked.

EPA’s refusal leaves us in the dark about issues at the very center of this proposed repeal, including:

  • A questionable Tennessee Tech University study that was funded by Fitzgerald Glider Kits, which the Pruitt EPA has relied upon in its efforts to repeal the glider regulations. In January 2018, the study’s Principal Investigator was so concerned about its integrity that he removed his name and returned his portion of the $70,000 that Fitzgerald paid. In February 2018, the President of Tennessee Tech wrote to EPA informing them that the study was undergoing an internal scientific misconduct review, and requesting that EPA not use or even reference the study until conclusion of the investigation. 
  • In May 2018, the EPA’s Science Advisory Board authorized a review of the Pruitt glider rule, writing that the supporting science “lacks transparency regarding the sources of and basis for data” and failed to take into account its own study that demonstrated significantly higher vehicle emissions from gliders than from new trucks.
  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reportedly told the EPA that Pruitt’s proposed glider repeal rule is incomplete because it lacks a Regulatory Impact Analysis.

Today, the Majority is likely to focus on these rulemaking procedures as opposed to public health. Fortunately, Dr. Paul Miller, Deputy Director and Chief Scientist of the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management is here today to help us understand the environmental and health consequences of unregulated glider truck production. Dr. Miller, thank you for being here.

We also hold this hearing – on extremely polluting trucks –  as Hurricane Florence is barreling down on the Carolinas. In the past year, we have seen extreme weather events, from huge forest fires in California to a massive hurricane in Puerto Rico, devastate communities nationwide. Evidence shows that Climate Change has intensified these extreme weather events leading to more destruction. I hope that this Committee can one day explore the scientific evidence behind such events rather than ignoring the facts.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.

115th Congress