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House amendment would exempt glider kits from EPA proposal


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Land Line / July 9, 2015

The recent release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “Phase 2” environmental standards for heavy trucks and trailers has prompted a U.S. representative from Tennessee to file legislation that would make sure glider kits remain exempt.

For one thing, glider kits are not technically “new” trucks, says Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn.

Black’s congressional district includes Byrdstown, Tenn., home of Fitzgerald Glider Kits (https://www.fitzgeraldgliderkits.com/).

Black filed an amendment to the House version of an annual spending bill, known as an appropriations bill, which covers the Department of Interior, Environment and Related Agencies. Every year, Congress must sign off on a dozen appropriations bills for various departments (another of which is transportation) that keep the government running in day-to-day operations.

Her amendment says that no funds shall be used to finalize, implement or enforce greenhouse gas regulations on glider kits and glider vehicles. The proposed EPA standards contain language that could, if implemented as a rule, force glider kits to meet certain standards to improve fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions.

Black spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, July 8.

“I recently toured a business in my district that manufactures these kits. For those who don’t know, a glider kit is a group of truck parts that can include a brand-new frame, cab, or axles, but does not include an engine or transmission,” Black said, educating her colleagues about the kits.

“Since a glider kit is less expensive than buying a new truck and can extend the working life of a truck, businesses and drivers with damaged or older vehicles may choose to purchase one of these kits instead of buying a completely new vehicle. Unfortunately, the EPA is proposing to apply the new Phase 2 standards to glider kits, even though the gliders are not really new vehicles.”

Black’s amendment passed by a voice vote and was added to the appropriations bill.

The fact that the Senate has passed its own version of the Department of Interior appropriations bill means there are now two different versions of the bill. For a bill to pass and become law, the language needs to be reconciled – matched up – so it can move on to the president’s desk for signature.

Black reiterated that the glider kit provision in EPA’s Phase 2 proposal would unfairly target the glider kit industry and consumer choices.

“Under this ill-advised rule, businesses and drivers that wish to use glider kits would be effectively forced to buy a completely new vehicle instead,” she said on the House floor. “Reducing glider sales would also end up limiting consumer choice in the marketplace.”


The recent release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed “Phase 2” environmental standards for heavy trucks and trailers has prompted a U.S. representative from Tennessee to file legislation that would make sure glider kits remain exempt.

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House Amendment Would Protect Glider Kits from GHG Rules

Heavy Duty Trucking / July 14, 2015

The House of Representatives has approved an amendment that would temporarily protect glider kits as they are now assembled and sold, says Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), who sponsored the measure "to protect Tennessee workers and small manufacturing businesses from the EPA’s latest overreach."

The amendment to an appropriations bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from using fiscal-year 2016 funds to enforce new restrictions on gliders, which EPA proposes under the Phase 2 greenhouse-gas and fuel-economy proposals unveiled in June.

Black represents an east Tennessee district where Fitzgerald Glider Kits, a major assembler of the vehicles, has plants. In her speech on the House floor, she said she toured the company’s plant and understands their financial advantages.

“Since a glider kit is less expensive than buying a new truck, and can extend the working life of a truck, businesses and drivers with a damaged or older vehicle may choose to purchase one of these kits instead of buying a completely new vehicle,” she said. “Unfortunately, the EPA is proposing to apply the new Phase 2 standards to glider kits, even though gliders are not really new vehicles.

“Mister Speaker, this directly impacts my district where we have glider kits being manufactured and purchased by companies in places like Byrdstown, Sparta, and Jamestown – communities that are already struggling with above-average unemployment and would see job opportunities put further out of reach if this misguided rule goes into effect.

“It is also unclear whether the EPA even has the authority to regulate replacement parts like gliders in the first place,” she said. “What’s more, while the EPA’s stated goal with Phase 2 is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the agency has not studied the emissions impact of remanufactured engines and gliders compared to new vehicles.”

EPA wants gliders to use diesels that meet current emissions limits, so they could no longer be powered with older engines, explained Ben Sharpe, a senior researcher with the International Council for Clean Transportation, which has analyzed the Phase 2 proposals. There is an exception for companies that each assemble fewer than 300 glider kits per year. Fitzgerald makes more than four times that number.

“Under this ill-advised rule, businesses and drivers that wish to use glider kits would be effectively forced to buy a completely new vehicle instead,” Rep. Black told her House colleagues. “Reducing glider sales would also end up limiting consumer choice in the marketplace.

“To be clear, this amendment would not bar the EPA from implementing the whole Phase 2 rule for medium and heavy-duty trucks. It would simply clarify that glider kits and glider vehicles are not new trucks as the EPA wrongly claims.”

As with any amendment, this one is a long way from becoming law, said Laura Perrotta, senior director of legislative affairs for the National Truck Dealers and its parent, the National Automobile Dealers Association.

“The amendment would have many hurdles to overcome to get into law,” she explained. “It would have to get into a Senate companion bill. If it doesn’t, toward the end of the [congressional] term it might go into an omnibus bill, where it and many other [amendments] stand a chance of being stripped out.

“Even if it did become law, it only has a one-year term, so would have to be reauthorized every year.”

EPA has grown concerned that glider kits are being bought by truckers who want to avoid compliance with stringent exhaust-emissions limits, not just replace wrecked, worn- or rusted-out trucks as they were originally designed. They can legally buy gliders by securing titles and other documents that prove a glider – a new truck without most powertrain components – is replacing an older truck whose diesel and other parts are installed in the new vehicle.

Most gliders use diesels originally manufactured in the 1999-2002 period when emissions limits were relatively easy to meet, and before expensive exhaust gas recirculation and exhaust aftertreatment equipment came into use.

Other glider kits are sold with dual-fuel conversions so the engines burn lower-cost natural gas with diesel fuel, and their emissions are cleaner than straight diesel engines.

Daimler Trucks North America’s Freightliner division offers many of its current and past models as glider kits, and will install remanufactured diesels for customers who want them that way.

Fitzgerald uses mostly Freightliner kits, along with some from Kenworth and Peterbilt, and planned to produce 1,400 last year.

Dealers, independent shops and some trucking fleets also assemble gliders, which have grown in popularity partly because they cost at least 25% less than a comparable all-new truck.

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Glider Kit Amendment Stalls with House Bill

Heavy Duty Trucking / July 16, 2016

An amendment limiting the EPA’s ability to regulate glider kits under Phase 2 greenhouse-gas and fuel-economy rules has stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives, as its underlying bill was pulled from further consideration by House leaders because of an unrelated controversy.

The amendment was offered by Congresswoman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) in response to concerns by constituents who assemble and sell glider-kitted trucks, and some fleets that buy and use them, reports the American Truck Dealers and its parent, the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The amendment to House Resolution 2822, an appropriations bill funding the Environmental Protection Agency and other government operations, passed by voice vote on July 8.

However, the bill became snarled in the controversy over the Confederate flag, and it now appears unlikely to pass in this session, making the amendment’s fate uncertain, says ATD-NADA.

Under the amendment, EPA couldn’t use appropriated funds during fiscal year 2016 to require most gliders to use diesel that meet current exhaust emissions limits. That is one of the many provisions in the proposed Phase 2 standards requiring better fuel economy and lower emissions beginning with model-year 2018.

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