TENNESSEE/KENTUCKY (July 9, 2018) – Fitzgerald Glider Kits today announced that it has learned that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will exercise its enforcement discretion related to the annual cap and prohibition on glider vehicles that were adopted under the previous administration. This action will allow glider vehicle assemblers to operate while the EPA finalizes the proposed glider rule from November of last year.
In November 2017, the EPA issued a proposed rule to repeal restrictions on glider vehicles, glider engines and glider kits that were adopted in 2016. With EPA still working on the final rule, the restrictions remained in place and prevented glider vehicle assemblers from assembling more than 300 glider vehicles annually. Fitzgerald Glider Kits assembled more than 3,000 glider vehicles in 2017, and the restrictions forced the company into five rounds of layoffs. Other glider assemblers and parts suppliers were likewise impacted.
Addressing the significance of the EPA’s recent decision, Fitzgerald Glider Kits commented that “the agency’s no action assurance will protect our most valuable asset—our employees.” The EPA’s decision ensures that the previous administration’s glider restrictions will not irrevocably harm the American glider industry, small fleets and independent owner-operators. “This decision by the EPA and Trump administration gives our industry a chance to survive as we await final action by the EPA,” the company said. The EPA has indicated that it will continue working “as expeditiously as possible” on a final rule relating to the glider vehicle cap and prohibition.
“Fitzgerald has been a champion of rural America and has lowered unemployment from 20 to 4 percent in some regions. This action by EPA leadership is greatly appreciated and will protect the rural communities where we live and work,” said Tommy Fitzgerald Sr., the company’s President and CEO. He added, “We are optimistic that we will be able to return to our prior production levels in the near future and rehire workers in these economically depressed areas of the country. We truly appreciate President Trump’s commitment to Making America Great Again.”