ATA's Moskowitz says climate change and government's response will be one of the most critical issues facing industry
Feb 1, 2010 12:00 PM, By Rick Weber
ONE of the most critical issues facing the trucking industry — maybe not today, but over the next few years — is climate change and what the federal government plans to do about it, according to Richard Moskowitz, vice-president and regulatory affairs counsel for the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
“The only thing that has delayed passage of a climate bill is Congress' inability to resolve the health-care debate,” Moskowitz said at the Cargo Tank Maintenance Seminar in Nashville in October 2009. “As soon as that is taken off the table, I expect them to address climate change.”
Trucking accounts for less than 6% of US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, he said. However, trucking will see a significant impact from any climate-related legislation and regulation.
“Many scientists believe that greenhouse gas emissions are gradually warming the earth,” he said. “Considering the body of scientific evidence, there is an ongoing debate over the significance of man-made carbon emissions. But we may not have the luxury of waiting for a definitive determination as to whether it's a real concern or not because politicians are saying that we need to do something now to address this problem. Elections have consequences. This has consequences. The current occupant of the White House is unlikely to veto this, and there is a question as to how the votes in the Senate will shake out.”
He said one gallon of diesel releases 22 pounds of CO2, and the lifecycle of that gallon of diesel is 27 pounds because of the amount of energy expended to extract oil out of the ground, transport it across the ocean, refine it, and get it to market. Eighty-one gallons of diesel equal one metric ton of carbon (27.09 pounds diesel carbon lifecycle).
The issue took off in 2007 in the US Supreme Court with Massachusetts vs EPA, in which it was ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted improperly in ignoring greenhouse gases as pollutants that affect human health. EPA was instructed to go back and regulate greenhouse gases.
The next step was for EPA to decide if such pollutants “endanger” public health or welfare and whether emissions of any pollutant from new motor vehicles or engines cause or contribute to this air pollution. If there was an endangerment finding, GHGs would have to be regulated as a pollutant by EPA. EPA issued a Proposed Rule on April 24, 2009, in which EPA found that GHGs from motor vehicles “endanger” public health and welfare. The comment period closed June 23, and the final rule will likely find “endangerment.”
Editor's note: After the NTTC conference, EPA issued the endangerment finding.
“It hasn't been released yet because they want to use it as leverage over the Senate and tell them, ‘If you don't go ahead and pass legislation, we think we have authority to regulate under the Clean Air Act (CAA). And EPA will go ahead and do this unless you curb authority or tell EPA how to do it,’” Moskowitz said.
He said that Cap-and-Trade is sometimes called “Cap-and-Raid” or “Cap-and-Tax,” but it is “an economic-based solution for addressing greenhouse gases.”
Continued on Page 2
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
Acceptable Use Policy blog comments powered by Disqus