Are Rollbacks of Tier 4 Regulations on the Horizon?
Many businesses are wondering whether rollbacks of Tier 4 regulations are just over the horizon. In October, President Trump signed SB 163, which relaxed Tier 4 regulations for generators operating within rural Alaskan communities. This move was met with widespread applause by legislators and businesses who have argued for years that compliance with the standards created a significant financial hardship. However, while many in Alaska are celebrating, the reality is that at this time, it won’t be very easy, and barring executive action it is highly unlikely that further exemptions will occur through legislative action.
Tier 4 History and the Rollback of Emissions Standards
Since Tier 1 was adopted in 1994, emissions standards have grown tighter as the years have rolled past. When the EPA signed off on Tier 4 standards in 2004, it required a 90% reduction in the emission of PM and NOx. It also required a significant investment in new technologies and equipment capable of meeting these stringent requirements.
Senator Murkowski and other legislators pushed for and received, an exemption for companies and individuals within rural Alaskan communities. These included companies like Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, who argued the Tier 4 regulations required the installation of components that reduced generator efficiency. They also argued that the additional costs of Tier 4 compliance made complying with the regulations cost-prohibitive for individuals and many small businesses.
Manufacturers are Already Geared up for Tier 4 Compliance
Even if the House and Senate passed legislation that rolled back Tier 4 standards, regulatory bodies in Europe and Asia are not rolling back their emissions requirements. Indeed, legislative bodies in Europe, Australia, and Asia are considering adopting standards that are even more stringent. Further, the current composition of the House and Senate means that there is a very slim chance for exemptions in other states.
Doosan, Sullivan Palatek, Himoinsa, Kohler, Caterpillar, and other manufacturers don’t want to lose access to the global market. These companies have spent many years and significant resources developing machines that comply with Tier 4 regulations. These machines are already on the production line and these companies don’t want to lose access to markets where less-efficient machines would be prohibited. For businesses purchasing new generators, the only option moving forward will be equipment that is Tier 4 compliant regardless of the actions of legislators in Washington, DC.
Executive Action is Possible
While legislative action is unlikely to occur, the Trump administration may act unilaterally. In fact, President Trump is currently considering rolling back more than 100 environmental regulations. Many are related to emissions requirements, and many would impact oil/gas extraction, construction, forestry, and other industries. If the president chooses to take executive action on these, it could make the need for exemptions from Tier 4 a moot point. It’s the wild card that everyone is watching.
For more about compliance with Tier 4 Regulations, contact Gen-Tech Power Generation Specialists at (800) 625-8324. We are always ready to answer your questions and help you find the right solutions.