EPA Glider kits
An overhauled Detroit 60 series engine from Fitzgerald Glider Kits.

Pro-glider kit study gets pulled

University asks EPA to withdraw its research on glider kits.

The president of Tennessee Tech has informed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) it should not use the university's study on glider kits in developing federal emissions regulations.

President Philip Oldham said in a letter posted online experts “have questioned the methodology and accuracy of the report.” He added the school was pursuing a peer review of the report and investigating claims of research misconduct.

The study was commissioned by Fitzgerald Glider Kits and has been cited as evidence that EPA should rescind regulations limiting the sale of gliders. Fitzgerald has reportedly offered to build a new research center for the university on land owned by the company.

Other groups seeking a repeal of the Phase 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations that applied to glider kits – notably the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) – also cited the university’s research as one reason why the kits should be exempted from those rules.

During the Obama administration’s development of the Phase 2 GHG regulations, EPA said gliders generated far greater pollution than trucks with more modern emissions systems.

However, the Tennessee Tech study claimed some gliders could outperform vehicles with newer engines. Last year, new EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, citing “the regulatory overreach” of the Obama administration, proposed gliders should not be regulated under the Clean Air Act, and opened a public comment period that ended Jan. 5.

EPA has not of yet taken any additional action.

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