Letters from Washington lawmakers are asking Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) officials to investigate potential improper
contacts between EPA staffers and Volvo Trucks regarding research
into glider kit truck emissions. The effort was highlighted in an
edition of Overdrive magazine, which was published last week.
Those lawmakers who have been involved in this effort include U.S.
Representative Jamie Comer from Kentucky, as well as Representative
Bill Posey, of Florida, Representative Steve King, of Iowa, and
Representative Brian Babin, of Texas.
According to the article, these letters are the latest development
in an ongoing debate over whether the EPA should strip Obama-era
emissions regulations placed on glider kit trucks, which opponents
argued threatened the glider kit industry. It is an important issue
for Wayne County, since Fitzgerald Industries has announced plans to
open a facility here and bring 250 jobs to this community. The
company, headquartered in Sparta, Tenn., is a major manufacturer of
While plans for the local facility are to produce aluminum dump
truck beds, things have basically been put on hold while officials
with Fitzgerald Industries wait to see the result of the effort to
repeal the emissions regulation that could kill their glider kit
business. Company officials have previously stated that they would
have to cut production company-wide by 90 percent by the end of 2018
if the rule does not change.
In the recent article in Overdrive magazine, one of the letters sent
by Congress stated that EPA career employees were in email
communication with Volvo employees to arrange a study to test the
emissions of glider kits "without the knowledge or approval of EPA
leadership." The article stated that Volvo supplied glider kits to
EPA staff members for the test, which could make the study's
conclusions questionable given Volvo's active opposition of repealing
glider kit emissions regulations.
In a statement to Overdrive, Volvo said, "Like most of the trucking
industry, the Volvo Group for several years now has argued that the
improper use of glider kits is bad for the environment and unfair to
manufacturers who have invested in the latest environmental
controls. All our communication and cooperation with the EPA on this
issue has been an entirely appropriate part of a broad trucking
industry advocacy effort—we did nothing improper."
As it stands now, the article noted that glider makers are left in
limbo, given that the emissions regulations took effect in January.
Absent a final rule from the EPA, glider kit makers would have a
yearly cap of 300 units that do not comply with Phase 2 regulations.
Local officials have been in contact with Senators and congressmen
from Kentucky to show support for the repeal of the emissions
regulations. Wayne County Fiscal Court officially drafted letters to
show their support for the repeal.
Anyone who is concerned about this issue is asked to contact their congressman to show their support.