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Environment Versus Economy



If you combine politicians pushing for requirements that they say will better protect the environment, automakers balancing consumer demands with changing requirements, alternative fuels industries trying to maximize future markets for producers, and the concept of mandates vs. voluntary compliance…then you have what has transpired over this past week.


Several groups have sued the Biden administration for new mandates regarding emissions standards.


RELATED: This Reuters article includes complaints from the National Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association about the Environmental Protection Agency’s new requirements for heavy-duty vehicles. Read that here. 


In March, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the tailpipe emissions standards for some heavy-duty vehicles. Some will collide with how the agricultural sector has operated.  

Which types of vehicles are included?


  • Tractor-trailer trucks

  • Delivery vehicles

  • Transit vehicles

  • Shuttle vehicles

  • School buses

  • Garbage trucks

  • Public utility trucks


What vehicle model years are included?


2027 through 2032


What is the EPA’s objective?


To avoid one billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions through 2055.


Farmers escaped additional requirements thanks to lobbying efforts that stripped Scope-3 from previous proposals. The American Farm Bureau Federation worked with U.S. Senator Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat and farmer, to narrow the guidelines.


RELATED: Bloomberg reports on what happened behind the scenes to change an earlier version of tailpipe emissions standards. See that here.   


Here is a breakdown on the differences between the three scopes as described by National Grid:


“Essentially, scope 1 are those direct emissions that are owned or controlled by a company, whereas scope 2 and 3 indirect emissions are a consequence of the activities of the company but occur from sources not owned or controlled by it.”


Scope 1:

“Covers emissions from sources that an organization owns or controls directly – for example from burning fuel in our fleet of vehicles (if they’re not electrically-powered).”


Scope 2:

“Emissions that a company causes indirectly and come from where the energy it purchases and uses is produced. For example, the emissions caused when generating the electricity that we use in our buildings would fall into this category.” 


Scope 3:

“Encompasses emissions that are not produced by the company itself and are not the result of activities from assets owned or controlled by them, but by those that it’s indirectly responsible for up and down its value chain. An example of this is when we buy, use and dispose of products from suppliers. Scope 3 emissions include all sources not within the scope 1 and 2 boundaries.”



The Environmental Protection Agency’s explanation is more technical in description.


Scope 1 emissions are direct GHG emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by an organization (e.g., emissions associated with fuel combustion in boilers, furnaces, vehicles).”


Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling.”


Scope 3 emissions are the result of activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organization, but that the organization indirectly affects in its value chain. An organization’s value chain consists of both its upstream and downstream activities. Scope 3 emissions include all sources not within an organization’s scope 1 and 2 boundary. The scope 3 emissions for one organization are the scope 1 and 2 emissions of another organization. Scope 3 emissions, also referred to as value chain emissions, often represent the majority of an organization’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”



Oil and renewable fuels groups contend that the Biden administration’s push for more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly guidelines are essentially a mandate for electric vehicles. There is no such mandate.


However, the guidelines would force traditional vehicles (those that use gas or renewable fuels) to adhere to new standards that they don’t currently meet.


RELATED: The Detroit News lays out the complaints about the new EPA standards, as well as why groups determined to better protect the environment believe that the country needs to take more aggressive action regarding transportation. Read that here. 

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American Farmland Owner Hayfields mountains

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