Padilla, Feinstein Applaud EPA Action on Clean Trucks and School Buses

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein (both D-Calif.) released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to follow California’s nitrogen oxides (NOx) rule for heavy-duty trucks. The EPA also announced additional funding to help California school districts transition to zero-emission school buses.

“We applaud the EPA for taking action to further strengthen emissions standards for NOx and greenhouse gases for heavy-duty trucks, which we pressed the Administration to initiate in July. We urge the EPA to continue to work toward a final NOx emissions standards rule that is better aligned with the more ambitious standards and timeline adopted by California, which has proven to be technologically feasible. Anything short of California’s stronger standards would harm low-income communities and communities of color across our state – which are most at risk from the severe health consequences of NOx pollution – and undermine our efforts to fight the climate crisis.

“As we continue toward transportation electrification, we are also pleased that the EPA announced $17 million in zero-emission school bus funding for school districts across the country, including four districts in California. Transitioning our school bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles is a smart investment in our children, our environment, and our future. We’re proud to have secured additional funding for zero-emission school buses in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and we will continue working to ensure that California school districts have the resources they need to take outdated diesel buses off the roads.

“California is committed to reducing toxic air pollution from vehicles and rapidly transitioning to zero-emission vehicles in order to safeguard clean air and protect public health. We are grateful to the EPA for recognizing this need and for their partnership in our collective fight to reduce emissions and guarantee clean air for all.”

The transportation sector is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas pollution nationwide and contributes roughly 50 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $17 billion for cleaning up ports where many of these heavy-duty trucks and vehicles with diesel engines are used.

Padilla and Feinstein have continuously advocated for strengthening vehicle emissions standards, including successfully pushing the Biden Administration to set national clean car standards modeled on the “California Framework Agreement” and pushing the Administration to revise the NOx emission standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks, which had not been revised in 20 years. 

Padilla was instrumental in securing clean school bus funding in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provided $2.5 billion for zero-emission buses and made them eligible for an additional $2.5 billion in school bus replacement funding. Padilla previously introduced the Clean Commute for Kids Act, legislation that would invest $25 billion to replace existing diesel buses with electric buses. On a typical day before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 25 million American children were exposed to air pollution as they rode over 500,000 predominantly diesel buses to school.

Feinstein led senators in 2019 to encourage automakers to sign on to the “California Framework Agreement” that became the basis for President Biden’s executive actions to put in place stricter emissions standards. Feinstein was also the lead sponsor of the bipartisan Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act. The bill, which passed in 2007, requires the administration to set the maximum feasible fuel economy standards.