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California Trucking Regulations Harm Pennsylvania’s Economy

Pennsylvania truckers may face rising costs as they grapple with California's environmental regulations.

In a move that’s leaving Pennsylvania truckers feeling powerless, the state’s Environmental Quality Board is adopting California’s stringent environmental regulations. The repercussions of this decision are causing frustration and financial strain for local businesses, including Peter Brothers Trucking, a company delivering goods across the nation. The owner, Brian Wanner, is distressed over the fact that Pennsylvania is imposing rules similar to those in California, a state known for its onerous regulations.

One of the most significant challenges for truckers is the cost associated with California’s new air pollution regulations. These rules are predicted to increase the price of new trucks by approximately one-third, making trucks that previously cost $190,000 now cost around $260,000. While California regulators argue that these regulations are necessary to address air pollution concerns, truckers like Wanner believe this is an overreach. He points out that trucks today are significantly cleaner and more environmentally friendly than they were 40 years ago, with one modern truck producing as little pollution as 60 trucks from 1980.

When asked about the apparent contradiction that these regulations are intended to reduce pollution by encouraging the purchase of new trucks but, in reality, might lead truckers to keep their older vehicles on the road, Wanner emphasized that the regulators do not seem to consider these consequences. This means that the new rules might hurt Pennsylvanians involved in the trucking industry without actually reducing pollution.

The response from the trucking industry has been clear: many truckers will simply buy their vehicles in neighboring states where the regulations are not as burdensome. This shift may provide economic benefits to other states but will not achieve the desired reduction in pollution. Rather, it’s likely to harm the businesses and people who sell trucks in Pennsylvania.

Critics of the regulations, such as attorney Caleb Kruckenberg from the Pacific Legal Foundation, argue that the composition of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Air Board raises concerns. The board includes individuals from various unrelated departments, and it is questionable whether many of them have expertise in air pollution. Kruckenberg points out that these regulatory boards often operate with the assumption that the individuals on them are experts, yet many of the decisions seem arbitrary and uninformed.

Kruckenberg is now leading a lawsuit against Pennsylvania on behalf of truckers like Wanner, arguing that Pennsylvania’s adoption of California’s standards violates the Constitution. He contends that these regulations are not representative of the will of Pennsylvania’s citizens, and the people of the state have never voted for the standards now controlling their businesses.

Furthermore, Kruckenberg challenges the wisdom of simply following California’s lead. He highlights that California’s move toward electric vehicles, in an attempt to reduce pollution, raises concerns about the environmental footprint of electricity generation. Many regions, including Pennsylvania, rely on coal and natural gas for electricity. Additionally, electric trucks are heavier and less suitable for long-haul trips, placing extra wear and tear on roads and failing to meet the practical needs of truckers.

Ultimately, the frustrations of Pennsylvania truckers and the potential economic repercussions of adopting California’s regulations raise critical questions about the role of regulatory bodies and whether following another state’s lead, particularly one as dissimilar as California, serves the best interests of Pennsylvania’s citizens. Truckers and their supporters assert that the American way involves careful consideration of local conditions and needs rather than blindly replicating policies from other states.

American Coalition

American Coalition

The American Coalition operates as a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization, as amended, created by Americans who have tired of the ever-growing assault on the foundation of our entire way of life.