California farm region plagued by dirty air looks to Trump

By SCOTT SMITH, Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- California's vast San Joaquin Valley, the country's most productive farming region, is engulfed by some of the nation's dirtiest skies, forcing the state's largest air district to spend more than $40 billion in the past quarter-century to enforce hundreds of stringent pollution rules.

The investment has steadily driven down the number of days with unhealthy air - but on hot, windless days, a brown haze still hangs overhead, sending wheezing people with tight chests to emergency rooms and hundreds each year to an early grave.

Despite the air district's efforts, the valley's air still violates federal standards for sooty pollution that comes from industry, businesses and vehicles.


Read more >



walmart truckWalmart, Big Shippers Ask Congress to Keep Clean Trucking Program

By John O'Dell

A coalition of major freight shippers has asked the U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees to restore funding for the voluntary SmartWay clean trucking program that was cut in the Trump administration’s 2018 federal budget proposal.

The shippers, including retailing giant Walmart, paper goods manufacturer Kimberly-Clark Corp. and technology companies Dell and HP Inc., said the endangered program has pushed the goods movement sector to slash emissions, saving an estimated 8 billion gallons of fuel and substantially reducing diesel trucks’ emissions of NOx and carcinogenic fine particulate matter.

A July 14 letter to leaders of the Congressional appropriations committees urged the preservation of the program and said that the savings in fuel costs alone – an estimated $27.8 billion since 2004 – is more than three times the EPA’s entire annual budget and “orders of magnitude higher than the cost of SmartWay itself.”

SmartWay’s current annual budget is $2.8 million.

Read more >



CARB to Use Settlement Funds for Emissions Reduction, Clean Vehicle Efforts

By Lauren Tyler

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has fined a number of companies for emissions violations and intends to direct the settlement funds to support air pollution research and help clean up diesel school buses.

Most recently, CARB fined three companies $726,250 for failing to comply with the state’s Cargo Handling Equipment Regulation, which sets emission standards for a range of equipment used mostly at ports and railyards, including gantry cranes, yard trucks and forklifts.

“Emissions from the ports can travel far inland, but they have the strongest impact on those who live and work near these busy trade hubs,” says Todd Sax, CARB’s enforcement division chief. “With enforcement of the Cargo Handling Equipment Regulation, CARB has been able to achieve a high compliance rate, significantly reducing emissions of diesel air contaminants in port-adjacent communities.”

Read more >



A California regulator’s curious crusade to remake the Clean Air Act

By Jim Morris

FRESNO, Calif. – The 250-mile-long San Joaquin Valley is an economic powerhouse, producing everything from crude oil to grapes, cotton to pistachios.

It’s also a pollution-trapping bowl, bounded on three sides by mountains and punished by meteorological conditions that cause dirty air to stagnate. All eight counties in the valley are in “extreme non-attainment” of the federal smog standard, which has led to penalties. Lung-searing ozone, the main component of smog, is cooked by triple-digit summer heat. Fine particles, tied to both heart and respiratory disease, fill the air on foggy winter days.

In theory, the Clean Air Act was built for places like this.

Read more >



State of the Air: California and Bay Area cities among top 10 most polluted in nation

By Pueng Vongs | pvongs@bayareanewsgroup.com

California cities dominated a list of top 10 most polluted regions published by the American Lung Association.

The State of the Air 2017 is based on air quality monitoring from 2013 to 2015. The Visalia-Porterville-Hanford areas in San Joaquin County had the highest level of year-round-particle pollution in the country. The San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area ranked fourth ahead of Los Angeles-Long Beach area at number five. See the slideshow for the entire list.

Unhealthy particles in the air emanate from wildfires, wood-burning devices, coal-fired power plants and diesel engines, according to the Lung Association. These microscopic particles can lead to asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes as well as cause lung cancer. Climate change and drought worsen air quality. Read more >



OOIDA v. CARB: Ninth Court upholds district court dismissal

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief

OOIDA’s tenacious lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board added another chapter to its long chronicle in mid-April. OOIDA told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco that after being bounced from court to court, the case should move forward. The court’s opinion was quick, and a disappointment to truckers.

On April 19, OOIDA’s attorney told the federal court in San Francisco that the case was properly filed in district court (Dec. 6, 2013) and should have not been dismissed (Oct. 29, 2014). On April 26, the judges affirmed the 2014 ruling of the district court to dismiss the case.

The three-judge panel included Stephen Roy Reinhardt, A. Wallace Tashima and Donald W. Mollo. Daniel E. Cohen of the Cullen Law Firm represented OOIDA and truckers. Linda Gandara, California’s deputy attorney general, argued for CARB. Read more >


Amazon documentary asks: What would a day without trucks be like?

By Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Last week was A Day Without a Woman. Before that came A Day Without an Immigrant. These protests — though a bit gimmicky — demonstrate what the economy would be like without these groups.

A new documentary, “Be Prepared to Stop” by Jennifer Clymer, executive producer, airing on Amazon and iTunes March 30, flashes graphics illustrating what five days would be like without trucks.

Produce, prescription drugs, even cash in ATM machines would be gone. Garbage would be piling up on the streets. You get the picture.

No trucks, no freight movement, no goods and no services to cities, stores, homes.

Gimmicks aside, the documentary opened my eyes to some new facts and drove home familiar ones like a semi barreling down the Grapevine.

Even with a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill passed by Washington in late 2015, the nation’s roads and highways are still in poor shape. It’s a temporary solution, according to the film, which includes mostly voices from the trucking industry and pro-infrastructure members of Congress.
Read more >


How local ports reduced pollution but lost trust among truck drivers along the way

By Emily Guerin

More than cars, power plants, or even refineries, heavy duty diesel trucks are the reason why greater Los Angeles has never met federal smog standards.

So nine years ago, the area’s twin ports – Los Angeles and Long Beach – began paying truck drivers to scrap their old, polluting rigs and replace them with cleaner ones. The program dramatically slashed diesel emissions, and now, the ports are rolling out a sequel meant to reduce emissions even more. But in the process of cleaning up the air, the ports lost the trust of some of their most important partners: trucking companies, who say after their experience with the first program, they’re wary of driving alternative fueled vehicles again. Read more >


How new Southern California air cleanup plan could affect warehouses, ports


Southern California air quality officials approved a 15-year pollution clean-up plan Friday, March 3, after adding provisions that would eventually eliminate a pollution-credits marketplace that regulates emissions from oil refineries and other major smokestack polluters.

But the 11-2 vote by the South Coast Air Quality Management District board left intact controversial plans for pollution reduction from the region's ports and warehouse centers to be achieved through voluntary compliance with industry.

The board majority rejected provisions sought by new member Sheila Kuehl, a Los Angeles County supervisor, that would have required district staff to develop port and warehouse rules that the board could put in place should volunteer efforts fall short. Read more >


CARB, Highway Patrol to Conduct Emissions Inspections by Calif. Port

By Lauren Tyler

In its latest announcement, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) says it will be working alongside the California Highway Patrol to conduct inspections on heavy-duty trucks traveling in and around the Port of Oakland.

According to the agency, this effort is part of CARB’s ongoing enforcement campaign to ensure that clean air requirements are understood and that big rigs are in compliance with the laws designed to improve air quality throughout California.

In addition, the inspections are also part of the California Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to focus special attention on disadvantaged communities. As reported, neighborhoods near the port experience higher impacts from port-related air pollution than those located farther away.

CARB says uniformed representatives will be inspecting trucks for excess smoke, proper emissions control labels, tampering, compliance with regulations requiring soot filters on trucks and transport refrigeration units, and SmartWay aerodynamic equipment designed to increase fuel economy. Read more >


It’s time for ports to push transition to cleaner heavy-duty trucks: Guest commentary

By George I. Minter: Opinion

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are looking at new opportunities to clean our air and protect our climate. It’s a historic opportunity and consistent with California’s long-standing leadership on environmental policy.

The new Clean Air Action Plan, or CAAP, put out by both ports, targets cleaning up dirty trucks — the single largest contributor to smog. But unfortunately, it doesn’t go far enough to actually deliver the cleanest trucks that can be on the road today.

Near-zero-emission heavy-duty natural gas vehicles exist today — delivering immediate clean-air benefits and transforming the ports’ diesel-dominated freight movement system. One truck engine manufacturer recently certified a new natural gas engine under the state’s new “Low NOx Standard” that reduces smog-forming emission by 90 percent, and provides the performance the trucking industry demands. Read more >


Good Luck Killing the EPA

by Eric Roston

The new U.S. president and Congress are taking a hard look at environmental rules—none harder than a freshman U.S. representative whose new bill would “terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Republicans have been known to threaten this from time to time, with the understanding that it was red meat for ideological or business interests with no real chance of success. “Everybody hates regulation,” said Republican Christine Todd Whitman, a former EPA administrator and New Jersey governor, “because it makes you either spend money or change behavior for a problem you may not see.” Read more >


Trump's EPA pick poised to survive Senate fight, but his brewing battle with California will be harder to win

By Evan Halper and Chris Megerian, L.A. Times

President Trump’s nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency survived a rancorous committee vote Thursday, putting him on the path to full Senate confirmation and a confrontation with California.

Scott Pruitt, who oil and gas companies are betting will help them reassert dominance over the energy economy, has cast doubt on California’s power to force automakers to build more efficient, cleaner-burning cars.

But he soon may learn that battles like the one he appears poised to launch can be full of unpleasant surprises.

The landmark environmental policy that the EPA nominee called into question — giving California unique authority to set tough rules for car and truck emissions — has proved resilient. So has California. Read more >


CARB Appoints First Environmental Justice Liaison

By Stanley Young - stanley.young@arb.ca.gov

Veronica Eady to be inaugural Assistant Executive Officer for Environmental Justice

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board Executive Officer Richard Corey announced today the appointment of Veronica Eady as CARB’s inaugural Assistant Executive Officer for Environmental Justice.

Veronica Eady is currently Vice President and Director of Conservation Law Foundation Massachusetts and was the Associate General Counsel and Director of Environmental Justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a non-profit civil rights law firm in New York City. Eady has also served as Director of the Environmental Justice and Brownfields Programs for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, where she was the principal author of Massachusetts’ Environmental Justice Policy. Eady was also Executive Director of Alternatives for Community and Environment, an environmental justice advocacy organization. She is the former chair of EPA’s federal advisory committee for environmental justice, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.  Read more >


California Has Done It Again!

By Matt Schrap

EPA Grants Petition for Lower Engine Standard

Well, just when the light at the end of the tunnel was drawing near, the trucking industry is again seeing the one eyed freight train of environmental regulation headed right at them. This week the EPA released a response the petition filed by CARB, SCAQMD and SJAPCD requesting a federal rulemaking for a lower NOx engine standard to take effect in 2024. EPA has granted their request and will begin a 24 month for technical research period with a rulemaking coming in 2019 for a 2024 implementation date.
While this may all sound familiar, these new standards are not the kind that are designed to enhance fuel economy, like the Phase 1 and Phase 2 GHG standards,(Click here for More Info ) these are the type that directly control criteria pollutants and tend to degrade fuel economy. In this case, the criteria pollutants under control are the directly emitted oxides of nitrogen or NOx, which forms ozone in the atmosphere when it reacts with sunlight, eventually resulting the ever familiar shroud of smog that blankets many major cities and metropolitan areas in the world.  Read more >





Go to Archived News Articles >

California Air Resources Board logo SCAQMD http://www.baaqmd.gov/ West Coast Collaborative CalCAP
san joaquin valley apcd Environmental Protection Agency sdapcd California Trucking Association  Sac Metro AQMD    North Coast Unified AQMD