The EPA’s Truck Rule Does Not Go Far Enough to Protect Communities from Heavy-Duty Truck Pollution


Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Phase 3 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Rule on heavy-duty trucks fails to set a clear pathway to 100% zero-emissions for heavy-duty trucks and ensure emissions reduction for frontline and fenceline communities which are majority Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), Asian and from working class and low-income communities. The excessive health and economic impacts caused by freight trucks disproportionately burdens frontline and fenceline communities. The rule’s limitations reinforce the importance of a White House commitment to a 100% Zero Emission Freight System and whole-government strategy. The Moving Forward Network (MFN), a national network of over 50 member organizations led by grassroots members living along freight corridors, ports, and freight facilities, will continue work with the Biden Administration and the EPA to strengthen regulations that drive us to 100% zero emissions for trucks and across the freight transportation system. 

Our freight transportation system relies upon legions of fossil-fueled ships, trucks, trains, and heavy-duty equipment to move huge volumes of cargo through seaports, railyards, highway freight corridors, and warehouses. For over two years, MFN provided public comments, held meetings, and presented real solutions to the EPA Administrator Michael Regan and senior staff to highlight the dire need for committed action in advancing zero emission solutions across the freight sector and the importance of prioritizing environmental justice in this transition. 

We need to address environmental racism now. My community is filled with thousands of trucks that spew toxic pollution and affect our residents on a daily basis. We recently did a truck count across the street from where over 800 senior citizens live and recreate. Our teams counted over 1,000 trucks per hour. Our community does not deserve to be forgotten and polluted. The Phase 3 Greenhouse Gas Rule doesn’t guarantee reductions from heavy-duty trucks, especially in communities of color. When it comes to zero-emission trucks, we have the technology, we have the ability, but we need the regulations to make sure that these solutions are being implemented. Stop choking our residents on rhetoric, and show that you care about our lives. That our lives matter more, too.

Asada Rashidi

South Ward Environmental Alliance

Summarizing the demands for the Phase 3 GHG rule, MFN requested the following:

  • Address the gaps from the 2022 Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards Rule (NOx). 
  • Ensure a clear pathway to zero emissions by mandating all new vehicles be zero emissions by 2035. This demand includes a scrapping program so that cumulative impacts from the increased number of trucks do not further burden environmental justice communities. 
  • Prioritize zero emissions for freight trucks, i.e., Class 7 and 8 (short-haul) drayage trucks. These trucks have never been prioritized in heavy-duty truck regulations and are some of the oldest and most polluting vehicles in frontline and fence-line communities.  
  • Include robust environmental justice and public health analyses to guarantee public health and environmental benefits through finalizing the strongest rule and its implementation.

This rule does not meet these demands, missing the moment and opportunity in front of us while falling short of the urgency to address the public health crisis caused by the freight transportation system.

 The commitment from the Biden Administration to apply a cross-agency, “whole-government” approach must be applied to addressing the freight transportation system to end the “deadly diesel” pollution endangering peoples’ health and prematurely ending many of their lives. Regulations support strategies like the recent release of the national freight electrification strategy from the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and the EPA that sets up 100% zero emission trucking by 2040. This report shows that 100% electrification by 2040 can be done in a strategic and phased approach. Our regulations should reinforce the vision and move us towards that goal in a real way. 

While the rule may be complete, the struggle is not. MFN will continue to look at the rule more deeply and analyze the impact it has on frontline and fenceline communities. Stay tuned for more from our network!

A whole-of-government approach is needed to ensure these investments advance equity and support large-scale deployment of zero-emission trucks on the road. The Kansas City, Missouri, public health data demonstrates that the life expectancy difference is between 15 and 18 years. According to the CDC, neighborhoods like Armourdale and Argentine in Kansas City, Kansas, have a shorter life expectancy of 22 years. Kansas City, like many other parts of the nation, experiences high-risk zip codes where asthma, heart disease, and cancer are above the national average and are the same areas sliced by highways, rail, and neighbors to chemical facilities. People who live near freight hubs or ‘diesel death zones’ are disproportionately exposed to high concentrations of pollution from the combined activity of diesel-fueled heavy-duty trucks, equipment, rail, and vessels. Our own community air monitoring network demonstrates the high variability in air quality between the communities that are exposed to these diesel trucks, and those that are safely tucked away, and have the benefit of clean air. And this is why we need regulations that move us to 100% zero-emissions, now.



The Inland Empire is overwhelmed by the warehousing industry, which means that we have thousands of diesel trucks driving in and out of our communities daily. Industry is placed next to our schools, homes, and parks. We are breathing all of this contaminated air, daily. I speak to people every day in the city of San Bernardino who have to live daily taking medicine, connected to machines, or have to go to the doctor multiple times a month or even multiple times a week to get injections to open up their lungs. Our communities cannot continue to live like this. Strong rules need to be implemented to make sure that our lives are put over the pockets of the industry.

Tania Gonzalez

The People's Collective for Environmental Justice

Interested in learning more?

Read our letter to the White House and visit our Zero Emissions in Freight page to learn more about our campaign.