Our View: Air Resources Board should consider easing up a bit
Here's hoping the state's Air Resources Board eases up a little on regulations that phase out older diesel engines.
It's important that we continue to work to improve our air quality; but it's also important that we don't put our economic cornerstone — agriculture — at risk.The board approved regulations in December 2008 to reduce particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen emission from diesel-powered vehicles in use throughout the state.
The goal is to protect people's health. Laudable. ... Read More >
Southland air regulators seek to hold ports to pollution targets
By Tony Barboza
Air quality regulators, embarking on a bold new strategy to reduce smog in Southern California, want to hold the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach responsible for their pledges to cut pollution from thousands of trucks, ships and trains carrying goods to and from the nation's largest port complex.
If a rule proposed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District is adopted, it could open the door to similar regulations on other facilities that are magnets for truck and rail traffic, such as warehouses, distribution centers and rail yards ... Read More >
onrdiesel -- CARB Truck and Bus Regulation Information Session Bay Area, APRIL 17
The California Air Resources Board is offering a free information
session in the California Bay Area for diesel truck owners,
operators, fleet managers, motor carriers, and brokers in the
process of complying with the Truck and Bus Regulation.
Thursday April 17,2014
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
College of Alameda
Building F, Student Center
555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway (Atlantic Ave)
Alameda, CA 94501
• Good Faith Efforts to Comply
• Potential Regulatory Changes
• Participating in the Regulatory Process
• Funding Opportunities
• Enforcement Q&A and
• Personalized Fleet Assessments
Limited Seating, Reservations Required. Contact:
For more information:
The diesel decision: ARB ponders whether to allow current engines more time before tougher emissions standards set in
By David Bitton
Area trucking companies and farmers may soon be given more flexibility with regulations aimed at reducing engine emissions on their diesel trucks and buses.
The Air Resources Board is accepting comment through April 21 ahead of an April 24 board meeting, when it could decide to allow diesel truck and bus owners to be able to drive additional miles each year.
The regulation allows AG-registered diesel trucks and buses to be driven 10,000 miles per year until 2023, at which time they would need to have a 2010 model year engine or newer. ... Read More >
UN panel shows who's responsible for CO2 emissions
By KARL RITTER
BERLIN — The U.N.'s expert panel on climate change is preparing a new report this weekend outlining the cuts in greenhouse gases, mainly CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, required in coming decades to keep global warming in check.
Since it's a scientific body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won't tell governments how to divide those emissions cuts — a crunch issue in negotiations on a new climate pact that's supposed to be adopted next year. ... Read More >
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to develop a new program to recognize ports for their sustainability efforts, which could ultimately influence multinational corporations' shipping decisions.
The program could be similar to the agency's SmartWay Transport Partnership, which encourages trucking companies, rail carriers and others to move goods in a clean and efficient way. Companies that commit to reduce transportation-related emissions can use the SmartWay logo.
The EPA wants to provide the same recognition for ports, Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, said. The nonprofit forum serves on a committee formed to help with the EPA's ports initiative.
“Ports are very competitive,” Schaeffer told Bloomberg BNA April 8. For example, if a port on the East Coast is designated as a sustainable port, “that could have value for people making their shipping decisions,” he said.
... Read More >
IdleAir finding profitability with fleet locations, better truck stop site selection
By Kevin Jones
IdleAir, the long-struggling provider of truck stop electrification services, has turned the corner on operational profitability, company executives explained during a press briefing at last week’s Mid-America Trucking Show.IdleAirGATSlo
The key has been partnering with carriers to develop on-site, dedicated fleet facilities, as well as more selective expansion at truck stops and closing unprofitable legacy locations, says CEO Ethan Garber. ... Read More >
California Climate Policies Continue To Survive Legal Challenges
By Carolyn Whetzel
—Lawsuits challenging California's climate policies have yet to delay implementation of the programs, attorneys involved in the various cases said March 26.
“The California Air Resources Board is batting about 1,000,’’ Tom McHenry, a partner at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher in Los Angeles, said during a presentation on the status of legal actions the state still faces eight years after enacting the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (A.B. 32).
McHenry represents the Climate Action Reserve, one of several groups intervening in the litigation on behalf of the state.
CARB has prevailed, so far, on the substantive challenges to A.B. 32, the state's greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program, and the low-carbon fuel standard, largely because the broad language in the statutes and the courts' deference to the agency in implementing the programs, attorneys said at a workshop held in advance of the opening of the Climate Action Reserve's Navigating the American Carbon World conference in San Francisco. ... Read More >
Industry Listens as CARB Reacts:
Statewide Truck and Bus Rule Amendments Become Inevitable Reality
By Matt Schrap
It is no secret that thousands of operators in the industry are struggling to survive the harsh regulatory environment that exists here in the Golden State. Until recently, many were speeding headlong into a regulatory brick wall; despite lawsuits, threats of more lawsuits and even outright boycotts, there was little relief and even less sympathy for those in this particularly precarious position.
Fleets of all shapes and sizes are finding themselves in this conundrum. They are spread throughout the state and throughout many different vocations and specialties; these are 3rd and 4th generation companies, mom and pop shops, single truck operators, two man fleets, corporations, partnerships and LLC’s. Every configuration under the trucking business umbrella has found themselves behind the 8 ball at one point or another over the last 4 years. Suffice it to say, it has not been easy. ... Read More >
Trucking of Sacramento River salmon starts Monday
By Matt Weiser
More than 12 million juvenile hatchery salmon will get a truck trip downstream starting Monday to help them circumvent the harmful effects of drought on the Sacramento River.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the plan Friday, as a way of bolstering survival rates for the fish. The Sacramento River, compromised by California’s persistent drought, is too low to provide adequate food and protection from predators, potentially jeopardizing a crop of fish that supports the state’s commercial and recreational salmon fishing industries. ... Read More >
Group Suggests New Rules for Further Cuts in Carbon Pollution
CORAL DAVENPORT, NYT
WASHINGTON — An influential environmental group on Thursday released a new analysis suggesting major climate change regulations that could lead to even steeper cuts in carbon pollution than those being considered by the Obama administration.
The group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has had a strong voice in efforts to shape President Obama’s climate change agenda, sent the Environmental Protection Agency a proposal that it contends will lead to cuts of 470 million to 700 million tons of carbon pollution per year in 2020, the equivalent of emissions from 95 million to 130 million automobiles. The numbers are an update of a model regulation that the group sent to the E.P.A. in 2012, which the group contended would cut carbon pollution by 270 million tons annually. ... Read More >
Reduce air pollution for region’s health, economy: Guest commentary
By Ricardo Lara and Fran Pavley
Clean air is a right, not a privilege. A child’s health should not be determined by where they live or how much their parents make. But one-third of Californians still breathe levels of soot and smog that violate U.S. health standards, and cause asthma, cancer, heart attacks and strokes.
These pollutants are also powerful short-term climate change forcers. This is a problem we cannot tolerate. But this problem is solvable with a clear long-term vision for climate policy that protects families and stimulates business innovation. ... Read More >
Proposition 1B: Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program - 2013 Truck Solicitations
For 1st Solicitation “Good Faith Effort”
Large Fleets that Have Applied for Funding
and Still Need to Pass a Compliance Check
ARB is providing additional time, until
April 2, 2014, forlarge fleets to demonstrate compliance
without “Good Faith Efforts”. This additional time is only available to those large fleets that
for Proposition 1B funding
in the first solicitation (August 26 to October 10, 2013)
“Good Faith Effort” but still need to pass their compliance check.
ARB recognizes that large fleets may not have understood how the “Good Faith Effort” could impact
their ability to receive Proposition 1B funding, so
extending the time allowed for these fleets
to finish taking the action needed to demonstrate compliance
with ARB’s Truck & Bus Regulation. ... Read More >
TRU (reefer) owners: Its time to begin planning model year 2007 reefer engine compliance
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) recommends that
refrigerated carriers that own transport refrigeration units (TRU
or reefer) that must comply with the TRU Regulation’s in-use
performance standards by the end of 2014 need to begin planning
compliance strategies and budgets now.
Model year (MY) 2007 TRU engines must comply with the TRU
Regulation’s in-use standards by December 31, 2014. Purchase
orders for compliance equipment (e.g. trailers, units, or
engines) or technology (e.g. diesel particulate filters) must be
placed before the TRU Regulation’s purchase order deadlines to
qualify for a compliance extension if delivery or installation is
delayed until after December 31, 2014. To qualify for this
compliance extension, the TRU must be registered in ARB’s
Equipment Registration (ARBER) system, purchase orders must be
placed before the purchase order deadlines, and compliance
extension applications must be submitted by December 31st.
The purchase order deadlines that apply to TRUs are:
• For reefer trailers, TRU replacements, and TRU engine
replacements: August 31st (four months ahead of the compliance
• For verified diesel particulate filter retrofits: October 31st (two months ahead of the compliance deadline).
If purchase orders are placed before the purchase order deadline
and in-use compliance cannot be achieved by December 31, 2014,
due to delays in delivery or installation, the TRU/reefer owner
may apply for a compliance extension. A compliance extension
application, with attached supporting documentation, must be
submitted to ARB by December 31, 2014.
All MY 2006 and older TRU engines (or units manufactured in 2006
or earlier) should be in compliance now. Please note that
trailer manufacture year and in-service dates are not used to
determine TRU compliance dates. Noncompliant MY 2006 and older
TRU engines/units must not be operated in California unless they
are brought into compliance immediately.
The replacement engine compliance option for trailer TRUs no
longer results in a full seven years of compliance until ULETRU
is required. The replacement engine models that will fit and
perform in trailer TRUs are Tier 4i engines. Since Tier 4i is no
longer in effect, the effective MY of a Tier 4i replacement
engine is 2012, so compliance with the Ultra-Low-Emission TRU
(ULETRU) in-use performance standard is still required by
December 31, 2019 (seven years after the effective model year).
This results in only 5 years of compliance before ULETRU is
Retrofitting with a Level 3 Verified Diesel Emissions Strategy
(VDECS) may be something to consider because Level 3 VDECS meets
the TRU Regulation’s ULETRU In-Use Performance Standard. There
is no more-stringent in-use standard than ULETRU, but you need to
understand that more emissions-related engine maintenance is
needed to ensure reliable operation with a DPF (e.g. periodically
check fuel injectors pop pressure and spray pattern, check fuel
pump, check engine intake and exhaust valves). Diesel
particulate filters are NOT “fit-and-forget” systems.
Where can I get more information?
For general information about the TRU Regulation, the TRU Website
is at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/tru/tru.htm
Information about Level 3 VDECS is at:
The ARBER registration website is at:
ARBER Registration Help pages are at:
TRU Advisories are listed at:
TRU Compliance extension applications are at:
If you have questions about in-use performance standard
compliance, registration in ARBER, or in-use compliance
extensions, please call the TRU Help Line at 1-888-878-2826 or
Background: TRUs are refrigeration systems powered by integral
diesel internal combustion engines designed to control the
environment of temperature-sensitive products that are
transported in trucks, trailers, shipping containers, and
railcars. The emissions from these units are a source of
unhealthful air pollutants including particulate matter, toxic
air contaminants, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and
hydrocarbons, that all pose a potential threat to both public
health and the environment. These units often congregate in large
numbers at California distribution centers, grocery stores, and
other facilities where they run for extended periods of time to
ensure their perishable contents remain cold or frozen. These
distribution and loading facilities are often in close proximity
to schools, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods. In 2004,
the TRU Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) was adopted by the
Board to reduce diesel particulate matter emissions from TRUs and
TRU gen set engines. Amendments were adopted by the Board in
November 2010 and October 2011.
Five months after taking heat from much of the industry and being sued by OOIDA and others, the California Air Resources Board unveiled multiple changes to enforcement and deadlines tied to its Truck and Bus Rule Thursday.
“The trucking community spoke and we listened,” CARB Chairman Mary Nichols said according to a CARB news release. “The good news is that we will not have to sacrifice the state’s air quality goals to assist fleet owners. These amendments, which include more flexible deadlines and increased opportunities to access incentive funding, will further our emissions reduction goals by better ensuring that fleets can meet the requirements of the regulation.”
CARB’s 12 board members are slated to hear amendment proposals for the state’s most expensive regulation in history – the Truck and Bus Rule – at its April 24 board meeting. ... Read More >
Summary of Proposed Changes
to the Truck and Bus Regulation
Board Decision Planned for April 2014
This summary describes staff proposed amendments to the Truck and Bus Regulation, which would
better protect the emission and health benefits of the regulation by providing new flexible compliance
options for small fleets, low mileage fleets, and fleets operated exclusively in certain areas that have
made substantial progress towards cleaner air. None of the proposed changes are currently in effect.
The California Air Resources Board will consider the changes at its April 2014 meeting. ... Read More >
Anticipation Grips the Industry
By Matt Schrap
CARB Releases Major Changes to Truck and Bus Rule
There has been a groundswell of industry concern as of late over recent efforts by CARB to provide relief to an already beleaguered industry. In part, the relief is a response to the mounting criticism (and lawsuits) over how this rule is impacting fleets of all sizes, all over the state in all types of vocations. The relief is also a clarification of the "Good Faith Effort" compliance pathways released in November.. ...Read More >
Bullet train could increase greenhouse gases by 2020
By Dave Roberts
Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to spend the lion’s share of cap-and-trade auction revenue on the high-speed rail project won’t help the state meet its goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020, according to a recent Legislative Analyst’s Office report. It could actually make things worse during construction. ...Read More >
George Easow’s move to India to start a clinical diagnostics business lasted just three weeks before he was persuaded to return to Britain.
The persuading was done by his 7-month-old daughter, Fiona. Within days of moving to New Delhi, the child was wheezing and gasping for air because of smog. “She could hardly breathe,” her father said.
Fiona was kept indoors and put on medication. Nothing worked. “We had to make a call,” said Easow, a molecular biologist. He added that her symptoms disappeared once the family left, and they haven’t recurred. ...Read More >
World's largest aircraft unveiled and hailed 'game changer'
By Claire Carter
The world's longest aircraft, consisting of part airship, part helicopter and part plane, has been unveiled and could be the key to greener more efficient planes in future as developers predict one day there could be as many of the hybrids as there are helicopters today.
...Read More >
Will Natural Gas Fuel America’s Big Trucks? Shell Treads Carefully
By Tom Fowler
Shell is tapping the brakes on plans to push natural gas as a fuel for the trucking industry.
The company confirmed it will not build a previously announced plant 20 miles west of Calgary that would turn natural gas into liquid form, known as LNG, for use in heavy duty trucks.
Shell still plans to build out a network of LNG fueling stations along a 900-mile stretch between Alberta and Canada’s Pacific Coast. But those LNG service stations, which will be operated by Pilot Flying J, will sell natural gas fuel created by a company other than Shell.
“We are definitely still interested, but it’s an emerging market so Shell has to take a balanced approach to these developments,” Shell spokeswoman Destin Singleton said.
So far Shell has not changed plans for two other LNG fuel plants – one in Geismar, La. and one in Sarnia, Ontario, Ms. Singleton said. Once constructed, they could produce up to 250,000 tons per year of natural gas fuel for use in trucks and even ships as some tanker and ferry owners install the equipment needed to burn LNG instead of oil-based fuel.
The company has been pulling back from some North American investments as it tries to fund costly oil and gas projects around the globe, including selling off shale fields in the U.S. In December the company abandoned plans to build a multibillion-dollar plant in Louisiana that would have converted natural gas into diesel, citing skyrocketing costs.
There’s also a chicken-and-egg nature to building liquefaction plants and LNG fueling stations. While natural gas has made inroads as a fuel for heavy truck fleets, including buses and trash collection trucks, those systems largely work because the vehicles return to central locations every day, where they can be refueled from special pumps.
Building out natural gas fueling stations on North American highways is a much bigger gamble. Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has installed special fueling equipment at about 500 locations around the U.S. That may sound like a lot, but it’s a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands of service stations around the country.
But more big companies are beginning to embrace LNG for their massive trucks, including Lowe’s, Procter & Gamble and UPS. As many as 20% of P&G’s trucks could run on natural gas within two years. UPS plans to buy 1,000 natural gas trucks by the end of this year, while competitor FedEx Corp. said it will shift up to 30% of its fleet to natural gas in the next decade.
Diesel To Remain Dominant For Decades In Trucking?
BY Antony Ingram
Electrification and hybridization are the buzzwords of passenger transportation right now, but debate in the trucking world focuses on two different alternative fuels.
As the industry seeks to clean up its act and reduce costs for operators, diesel and natural gas are slugging it out as the two main fuels of trucking's future.
But as far as those within the industry are concerned, diesel will remain the dominant option for many years to come--well past 2050, in fact.
That's the view of Allen Schaeffer from the Diesel Technology Forum, writing for GE's Ideas Lab.
He notes that the booming industry for natural gas is undoubtedly a good thing, improving the domestic economy and keeping more money in the country.
But when it comes to fueling the trucking industry, diesel will likely remain the best option for quite some time to come.
That might not have been the case had such big strides in diesel technology not been made over the past few decades.
It's gone from a fuel with dubious environmental credentials to one that challenges gasoline and natural gas for cleanliness, all the while offering better fuel economy and does so at an effective price point.
The advent of low-sulfur fuels in 2006-2007 allowed diesel to significantly clean up its act. It allowed engine-builders to develop ways of cutting diesel exhaust emissions that otherwise wouldn't have been possible, as sulfur can attack the elements used in after-treatment technologies.
As particulate traps and urea injection have cleaned up diesel fumes in passenger cars, so too have similar technologies improved heavy-duty engines in trucks.
The improvement is clear to see: A truck manufactured after 2007 emits just two percent of the pollutants a truck made in 1988 did.
They're more fuel-efficient too, by three to five percent. Schaeffer quotes figures suggesting class 4-8 trucks on the road today save 13.3 million barrels of crude oil per year compared to their counterparts from a few decades ago--and produce 5.7 million fewer tonnes of CO2.
Cost will also play a part in diesel's expected continued success.
Pricing is steadier than that of natural gas, which fluctuates through global demand and as techniques like fracking vary supply of the gas.
Diesel is more expensive right now, but Schaeffer suggests operators are as concerned about predictability as much as they are cost--stability is key when planning for the future. He also says that current long-term gas deals cloud the real cost of natural gas fuels--a cost that could one day hit operators.
The end result is that by 2040, diesel could account for 70 percent of all transportation fuels, while natural gas rises from today's one percent to a still-modest 4 percent of the market.
While not mentioned in the article, it's also worth noting that diesel is still the more widely-available fuel right now--and that situation is unlikely to change for natural gas unless operators demand it. And they're unlikely to demand natural gas trucks without stations to fuel them...
While someone writing from the Diesel Technology Forum on an outlet funded by General Electric might be taken with a pinch of salt when discussing diesel, it's hard not to see diesel being the dominant truck fuel for some time to come.
But as with passenger vehicles, we're likely to see a real mix over the coming years--diesel may be dominant, but it won't be the only fuel, and for a select few, natural gas will remain the less expensive, potentially cleaner way of moving goods from place to place.
JURUPA VALLEY: Council eyes truck routes
BY SANDRA STOKLEY
In its continuing effort to blunt the impact of hundreds of big rigs on residents and city streets, the Jurupa Valley City Council on Thursday, Feb. 20, will consider establishing seven truck routes to keep the tractor-trailer trucks out of residential areas.
Council members also are expected to authorize a study of possible truck restrictions on Etiwanda Avenue from Highway 60 north to Hopkins Street in the city’s Mira Loma area.
The 7 p.m. meeting is at the old Sam’s Western Wear building, 8930 Limonite Ave., Jurupa Valley.
The study would be paid for by a $30,000 grant that was part of a lawsuit settlement agreement against a warehouse developer.
Hundreds of big rigs pour off Highway 60 every day. Many head north on Etiwanda to the Mira Loma Space Center, a warehouse complex that sits across the street from the Mira Loma Village housing tract.
“The truck traffic has gotten progressively worse,” said Mira Loma Village resident Patricia Mendoza, who has lived there for 40 years.
“I know people need jobs, but they’ve got to find a better way to reroute these trucks away from the residential area,” she said.
During afternoon rush hour, Mendoza said it can take up to a half hour for a resident to exit the tract because trucks are backed up, waiting to get on the freeway.
“Sometimes there are 10 trucks,” she said.
Eric Sauer, spokesman for the California Trucking Association, said in an email that the group has “concerns regarding adequate alternative routes.”
The association looks forward to working with the city to find a resolution, he wrote.
Penny Newman, executive director of the Jurupa Valley-based Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, said there is a practical alternative for drivers headed to the Mira Loma Space Center. Trucks can exit at Milliken Avenue, head north to Philadelphia Avenue and enter the warehouse complex from Philadelphia Avenue, she said.
Or they can continue on Philadelphia, go south on Etiwanda to Hopkins and enter the complex from that street.
“This would reduce the exposure of families at Mira Loma Village tremendously,” Newman said.
Her center filed the lawsuit against the developers of the Mira Loma Commerce Center that resulted in the settlement agreement that funded the study.
City Councilman Brad Hancock said he is fine with the truck routes being proposed but said he would like to see the city draft ordinances against residents who run trucking businesses from homes zoned for residential use. Hancock said he receives emails from residents complaining that a neighbor has five or six big rigs parked on their property.
Enforcement is difficult because the zoning is nebulous, Hancock said.
“We need zoning that is clear and enforceable,” Hancock said.
According to a city report, this would be a preliminary step in establishing truck routes in Jurupa Valley. A California Environmental Quality Act report must still be prepared before formal adoption of the routes.
Contact Sandra Stokley at 951-368-9647 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TRUCKS A TOPIC
The Jurupa Valley City Council will discuss proposed truck routes and a study of possible truck restrictions on Etiwanda Avenue between Highway 60 and Hopkins Street:
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. A workshop on smoke shops and synthetic drugs will precede the council meeting at 6 p.m.
WHERE: Council chambers, the old Sam’s Western Wear building, 8930 Limonite Ave., Jurupa Valley
Obama to order tougher fuel standards for heavy trucks
By ALEX GUILLEN
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will order his agencies to tighten the fuel-efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, the latest stage in his effort to tackle climate change without waiting for Congress to act.
During a visit Tuesday morning to a Safeway distribution center in Upper Marlboro, Md., Obama will announce he’s directing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department to develop fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for future trucks and other heavier vehicles by March 2016. They would cover vehicles for model years after 2018.
Tighter post-2018 standards for heavy-duty vehicles, which account for about a quarter of onroad greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, were part of the list of items Obama laid out in June in his climate action plan. The new requirements follow up on standards the administration imposed three years ago for heavier vehicles from model years 2014-18.
The initial standards were meant to reduce fuel use and emissions by 10 to 20 percent from vehicles like school buses, garbage trucks, large pickups and tractor-trailers, and the White House said they will save a total of 530 million barrels of oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 270 million metric tons over the vehicles’ lifetimes. The White House would not immediately say how steep the cuts would be from the post-2018 standards.
Under Obama’s order, EPA and DOT should issue an initial notice of proposed rule-making by March 31, 2015, according to a White House fact sheet.
The new vehicle standards build upon efficiency requirements the administration approved during Obama’s first term for passenger vehicles, which must get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, as well as sweeping greenhouse gas regulations that EPA is working on for power plants.
As part of Tuesday’s announcement, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration must work with manufacturers, states, labor groups and others on developing methods to cut fuel consumption and emissions after the 2018 time frame. The agencies will also work with the California Air Resources Board “with the goal of ensuring that the next phase of standards allow[s] manufacturers to continue to build a single national fleet.”
Obama will also tell the Energy Department to offer assistance to any company that joins the National Clean Fleets Partnership, a public-private partnership that encourages companies to switch to alternative or advanced vehicles. Those companies will get “specialized resources, technical expertise and support in developing a comprehensive strategy to reduce fuel use and achieve greater efficiency and cost savings.”
The program’s members include Coca-Cola, UPS and Waste Management, and together operate about 1 million commercial vehicles in the U.S., according to the White House.
Obama isn’t focusing entirely on executive actions on Tuesday. He will also repeat his call for Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust Fund, an idea the president has called for in his past two State of the Union addresses.
His plan would use drilling revenue to fund a research and development program for advanced vehicle technologies. But it faces serious opposition from congressional Republicans because it does not include expanded oil and gas drilling.
Obama will also call on Congress to revive the expired tax credit for producers of cellulosic biofuel and will propose Congress create a $200 million “tax credit to catalyze investment in the necessary infrastructure to support deployment of advanced vehicles at critical mass,” the White House said. The credit would be fuel neutral.
The White House will release a report Tuesday touting the administration’s work on fuel economy and vehicle emissions issues and detailing these new actions.
The transportation sector is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., after electric generation.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has responded to OOIDA’s lawsuit against CARB. On Jan. 27, Harris filed a partial motion to dismiss the complaint’s claims against the CARB defendants in their individual capacities, but did not seek dismissal of those claims against them in their official capacity.
The complaint names as defendants Richard W. Corey in his official and personal capacity as executive officer of CARB; Mary D. Nichols in her official and personal capacity as chairman of CARB; and Matt Rodriguez, in his official capacity as secretary of CARB.
On Dec. 6, OOIDA filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, against CARB in connection with the agency’s controversial Truck and Bus Regulation.
“The California Air Resources Board has overstepped its bounds by requiring trucks from other states to be upgraded in order to operate in California,” says Jim Johnston, president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
“Our position is that it violates the Commerce Clause and they cannot do it,” says Johnston.
Harris’s response did not seek dismissal of the Association’s claims based on Commerce Clause violations.
California should set interim goal for cutting emissions, report says
By Tony Barboza
The state is on course to meet its 2020 target, but reaching the 2050 goal will require huge changes, the California Air Resources Board says.
California is on track to reach its target for reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, but much tougher choices loom if the state is to meet its goal for the year 2050, state air quality officials say in a new report.
The changes needed to slash emissions enough to reach the mid-century target will be so great that the state should set an interim goal for about 2030, the California Air Resources Board said in a report released Monday.
The state's 2020 goal for fighting climate change is to scale back greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. The goal for 2050 is to reduce emissions to 80% below 1990 levels.
Reaching that target will require tough new policies to slash carbon emissions in every sector of the economy, including energy, transportation, agriculture and water delivery, the board said.
"We have to accelerate our efforts to become more efficient," state Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said. "The overarching test of everything we do is its impact on global climate change."
California will first have to transform its energy sector, which accounts for about half its greenhouse gas emissions, by relying increasingly on wind and solar power, making buildings more efficient and advancing energy storage technology, the report says.
Meeting the goal also will mean changing the transportation system, which contributes about 38% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions. California will have to boost vehicle efficiency; develop lower-carbon fuels; expand access to public transportation; clean up emissions from freight-carrying trucks, locomotives and ships; and expand access to public transportation, the report says.
The report also called for a strategy to cut other pollutants, including smog-forming compounds, methane and black carbon, which are shorter-lived than carbon dioxide but are many times more powerful at trapping heat. Reducing them would have the side benefit of cleaning up air pollution to help meet key federal ozone standards by 2032.
"We need to focus more on these non-carbon pollutants," said Bill Magavern, policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air. "They've been downplayed too long."
The 159-page report is the second update to a plan the Air Resources Board is required to revise every five years under California's 2006 global warming law.
Erica Morehouse, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, said the document was more focused and ambitious than a draft circulated last year. "Setting a 2030 target will strengthen incentives for immediate pollution reductions," she said.
It also would put California in line with the European Union and Germany, which have plans to cut emissions far below 1990 levels by 2030.
The state's 2020 and 2050 greenhouse gas limits were established by a 2005 executive order by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and are based on a concept endorsed by the world's climate scientists: that only by stabilizing carbon emissions and keeping global temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees above pre-industrial levels can society avoid catastrophic levels of climate change.
California already has adopted the nation's most sweeping climate change policies, including greenhouse gas regulations for vehicles, a low-carbon fuel standard, a cap-and-trade program and a requirement to make the state's energy portfolio 33% renewable by 2020.
Reaching its 2050 objectives will not be possible without aggressive new policies and technological innovations, outside experts say.
Increasing the fuel efficiency of trucks would lead to lower transportation costs — and thereby lower cost of goods — and save consumers hundreds of dollars a year, this according to a report released this week by the Consumer Federation of America.
The report says that a 50 percent increase in the fuel efficiency of trucks would save the average American household $250 a year, a number that could rise to $400 by 2035 as fuel prices increase, the report says.
That savings would act as an overall stimulant to the U.S. economy, freeing up $29.8 billion in disposable income for consumers, the report notes. The average U.S. household today spends about $1,100 a year due to truck fuel costs, according to CFA, and that number is projected to rise with fuel costs.
The report, dubbed “Paying the Freight: The Consumer Benefits of Increasing Fuel Economy of Medium and Heavy-Duty Trucks”, states the obvious in many ways about the price of goods and the cost of transportation, noting the correlation between increased fuel costs and increased cost of goods for consumers.
Lowering transportation costs is a win-win for everyone, CFA says. “One of the reasons we believe a strong fuel efficiency standard for heavy-duty trucks will be implemented is because key components of the trucking industry are also seeking ways to reduce the enormous impact of fuel expenditures on their costs,” said Jack Gillis, director of public affairs for the Consumer Federation.
The report also notes other oft-cited benefits of reducing fuel consumption of trucks: Environmental benefits in reducing emissions and the social and security benefits of reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
The report says tightening fuel economy standards on large trucks could follow the U.S.’ policies on tightening fuel efficiency for light vehicles. President Barack Obama has also noted he would like to see increased fuel economy standards implemented for heavy trucks.
Click here to see the entire report.
E.P.A. Staff Struggling to Create Pollution Rule
By CORAL DAVENPORT, NYT
WASHINGTON — In marathon meetings and tense all-day drafting sessions, dozens of lawyers, economists and engineers at the Environmental Protection Agency are struggling to create what is certain to be a divisive but potentially historic centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change legacy.
If the authors succeed in writing a lawsuit-proof regulation that is effective in cutting carbon emissions from America’s 1,500 power plants — the largest source of the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution — the result could be the most significant action taken by the United States to curb climate change.
But if the language in the regulation is too loose, there could be little environmental impact. And if it is too stringent, it could lead to the shutdown of coal plants before there is enough alternative power to replace them and, ultimately, to soaring electric bills, power blackouts and years of legal battles.
Government Said to Undervalue Coal LeasesFEB. 4, 2014
“Failure is not an option,” said S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, whose members are state and local officials.
Graphic: An Aggressive Climate Initiative
In his State of the Union address, Mr. Obama declared his intent to use his authority under the Clean Air Act and a 2007 Supreme Court decision to issue new regulations to curb carbon pollution. He is pressing forward as quickly as possible.
Mr. Obama has ordered the E.P.A. to issue by June 1 the draft of a regulation that will set a national standard for carbon pollution. Early indications are that the regulation will direct states to create and carry out their own plans for meeting the standard.
In addition, the agency is looking closely at a proposal by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit group, that could well be the heart of the regulation: states could comply with the rule not just by cleaning or shutting down coal plants, but also by making far broader changes across the electricity system — reducing demand, investing in “smart grid” technology or supporting more renewable sources of energy.
Depending on how the rule is written, states could also comply by enacting “cap and trade” programs, which would cap carbon pollution and create a market for buying and selling pollution permits.
The regulation would primarily affect the 600 power plants in the United States that are fired by coal, and could ultimately shutter hundreds of them, depending on how it is written.
In anticipation, coal-heavy states are extensively lobbying the environmental agency. John Lyons, Kentucky’s assistant secretary for climate change, said the Natural Resources Defense Council proposal “would shut down our coal-fired generation at a certain point, and that’s just unacceptable.”
Overall, coal supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s electricity, but states like Kentucky, Ohio and Missouri rely on coal for 80 percent to 90 percent of their power.
Mr. Lyons’s reaction underscores a central risk of the regulation: Handing so much choice to the states sets up the likelihood that Republican governors opposing climate policy will fight the federal requirement, either by suing the E.P.A. or by refusing to create plans to carry it out.
E.P.A. officials have also been warily watching the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the 36 governors who balked at setting up state health care exchanges. People close to the climate regulation process say they view the health care rollout as an object lesson in how they need to ease the public reception of what they hope will be a legally bulletproof regulation. The task of writing that language falls chiefly on the shoulders of Joseph Goffman, the agency’s senior counsel in the office of clean air and a 30-year veteran of Clean Air Act legal battles.
The E.P.A. administrator, Gina McCarthy, is in the meantime traveling across the country to meet with governors, coal industry leaders, energy companies and environmentalists to try to smooth the way politically for the rule. Ms. McCarthy, who once worked for Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts, is known for her ability to get along with Republican governors as well as for her environmental policy expertise.
Top agency officials, including Ms. McCarthy, have also held public listening sessions in 11 cities, and the agency is bolstering the efforts with an online campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Vine, the video-sharing website.
In Washington, Mr. Goffman and his team have held more than 200 meetings with state officials, environmentalists and utilities like the Ohio-based American Electric Power, which owns the nation’s largest fleet of coal-fired plants. John McManus, the power company’s vice president for environmental services, said of the climate regulation, “This could change the whole system of electricity — generation, transmission, distribution.”
However, Mr. McManus said, the E.P.A. is soliciting comments from all sides. “It’s a larger outreach than I’ve seen before, and it’s appropriate,” he said.
The public relations campaign is also aimed at building support for a draft regulation released last September that would limit carbon pollution from future power plants. The rule on existing plants to be released in June will be far more consequential.
Administration officials argue that the urgency of global warming requires rapid and ambitious action and point to a large number of scientific reports concluding that as carbon emissions increase, the coming decades will bring rising sea levels, melting land ice, an increase in the most damaging types of hurricanes, drought in some places and deluges in others — and perhaps even difficulty in producing enough food.
In a 2009 United Nations accord, Mr. Obama pledged that the United States would cut its emissions from 2005 levels 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. Climate policy experts say the new rules will be essential to meeting the 2020 goal, although further action will be required to reach the 2050 goal.
People working on the regulation say that White House officials regularly remind them of its urgency. One person even described White House “nagging” — a notable reversal for an administration that slowed down controversial environmental regulations during the 2012 presidential campaign.
Writing the new rule is legally complicated. Although the environmental agency has the authority to issue the regulation, Mr. Goffman and his lawyers will have to employ a rarely used portion of the Clean Air Act that was not specifically written to address climate change.
They could devise a legally cautious rule that has little environmental impact, or they could write an aggressive regulation that would slash emissions but be legally vulnerable.
“The legal interpretation is challenging,” said an E.P.A. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “This effectively hasn’t been done.”
The agency’s task is further complicated by Mr. Obama’s tight timeline, intended to complete as much of the regulatory process as possible by the end of his term in early 2017. After the release of the draft in June, the president wants a final version by June 2015. By June 2016, states must submit plans for carrying it out — a challenge for state environmental agencies, which typically have two to three years to write major new regulations.
“It will be a heavy lift,” said Scott Nally, who last month stepped down as Ohio’s top environmental official. In December, Mr. Nally met with environmental agency officials in Washington for a five-and-a-half-hour session aimed at hashing out details of the rule — particularly how states could meet the schedule.
“We rolled up our sleeves,” Mr. Nally said. “We started with coffee and finished with coffee.”
The timeline is also delicate politically. The draft regulation will come out just months before the 2014 midterm elections, when Republican campaigns plan to reignite charges that Democrats are waging a “war on coal.”
Already, the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who faces his own-re-election battle this fall, has said he intends to force a vote on the E.P.A’s draft climate rule for new coal plants, making vulnerable Democrats cast a difficult election-year vote.
A coalition of industry lobbies and political advocacy groups are also planning to fight the rules. The American Energy Alliance, which receives funding from Koch Industries, the oil refining conglomerate owned by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, plans to attack the proposal in television and radio ads.
“That’s going to be a big fight, when they roll out the rule for existing plants,” said Tom Pyle, president of the group and a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. “We’ll be ready for them.”
Two major players who are developing their own networks of natural gas fueling stations have cut back on expansion efforts.
Blu LNG has laid off 20% of its staff, ousted several senior executives and slowed down development of fueling stations as it waits for more truckers to embrace the switch to the cheap and cleaner-burning fuel, according to Reuters.
The company has a network of about 25 locations, with plans to grow to 40 to 50 by the end of the year, far less that it originally planned.It has cut its number of employees by 40 to 170, according to Fleets and Fuels.
Competitor Clean Energy Fuels is also slowing development of its network. It reportedly has 80 fueling stations, but only just over a quarter are operational, while plans call for opening one about every week and half to two-week.
The reason for all of this, as Blu LNG CEO Merritt Norton said in an interview with Reuters, “is to let trucks catch up on us.”
In other words, development of the LNG networks has been outpacing sales of LNG-powered big rigs.
The California Air Resources Board will present several classes to help truck owners and others in the industry navigate the state’s multiple truck emission regulations. Two of the courses will be broadcast online.
Course 520 – “How to Comply with CARB Diesel Regulations” – will review the inspection process and consequences of non-compliance. The course also explains how to comply with CARB diesel regulations. Course 520 will be offered in Spanish from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7 in a Mesa, Calif., and is already available in English in webinar format. For more information or to register, click here.
Course 521 is called “How to Comply with the Truck and Bus Regulation.” It will detail compliance with CARB’s Truck and Bus Rule, including reporting; proposed changes to the regulation. The class also will summarize other diesel rules, resources and CARB contact information. Course 521 will be offered as a webinar from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11. The class also will be offered online from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26. The class will be presented from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28 in Stockton, Calif.
The Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District on Thursday opened the application period for its 2014 Clean Air Funds program. The District will award more than $500,000 to projects in Yolo and Solano counties that will reduce air pollution from mobile sources.
The deadline for applications is March 21. The application packet is available at ysaqmd.org/caf.
There are four categories for eligible projects: clean technologies and low-emission vehicles; alternative transportation programs; transit services; and public education and information. Approximately $63,000 will be awarded to qualifying Yolo County projects and $442,000 will be awarded to qualifying projects in the District's portion of Solano County, which includes Vacaville, Dixon and Rio Vista.
The grants will be awarded on a competitive basis by the Yolo-Solano AQMD Board of Directors in June 2014.
Projects funded by the program in previous cycles include bicycle paths, low-emission heavy-duty trucks and equipment, environmental after-school programs, transit improvements and electric vehicles for municipal fleets. A full list of projects awarded funding for the 2013 program cycle is available at ysaqmd.org/caf.
The Clean Air Funds program is funded through a $4 surcharge on vehicle registrations within Yolo-Solano AQMD boundaries as allowed under Assembly Bill 2766. Clean Air Funds projects in Solano County also receive additional funding from a portion of property taxes as set by previous legislation.
Yolo-Solano AQMD is a public health agency committed to protecting human health and property from the harmful effects of air pollution. For more information, please visit our website at ysaqmd.org.
Deadline to report for CARB compliance delays coming Friday
By CCJ Staff
Fleets have until Jan. 31 to report any ”good faith” efforts toward compliance of the California Air Resources Board’s Truck and Bus Rule that would earn them a delay until July 1 to comply with the emissions regulations.
As it stands, fleets with more than three trucks registered with CARB must retrofit 2005-2006 model engines with particulate matter filters, but truck owners can receive the 5-month extension if they have:
An agreement with an authorized installer for a particulate matter filter retrofit.
Signed a purchase contract and ordered a replacement truck equipped with a particulate matter filter (engines must be 2007 model or newer)
Approved or denied financing for a retrofit particulate matter filter or for a replacement truck equipped with a particulate matter filter
Truck owners who have taken these steps can use the CARB TRUCRS system to report. Click here to learn more.
CARB announced in December possible exemptions for trucks running solely into and out of NOx-exempt areas in the state, which are areas where the amount of NOx in the air is below federal requirements.
The proposal however will not be finalized until April, so owners still must either be compliant or file for a good faith extension by Friday.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed a lawsuit against CARB in December, saying the retrofit is unconstitutional, violating the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, along with unnecessarily costly for truck owners.
Truck owners wanting to use one of several time extensions to comply with California’s Truck and Bus Regulation have until Friday to file their paperwork.
The California Air Resources Board is giving truck owners until Jan. 31 to opt into compliance extensions announced last fall to meet the Truck and Bus Rule – once described as CARB’s most expensive truck emissions rule.
After outcry from multiple representatives throughout the trucking industry, CARB expanded some exemptions for the rule. Exemptions now include existing low-mileage agriculture vehicles, existing low-mileage construction trucks, existing particulate matter phase-in requirements, a low-use exemption, and trucks that drive in areas classified as “NOx-exempt.”
In its original form, CARB’s On-Road Truck and Bus Regulation was predicted to cost the trucking industry billions of dollars in truck replacement or retrofit work. The rule requires most trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 14,000 pounds to be upgraded either with diesel particulate filters or by upgrading to cleaner and newer engines between 2012 and 2023.
Most trucks and buses were required by the rule to have a diesel particulate filter installed by Jan. 1, 2014.
CARB is enforcing the rule on trucking company owners, operators, motor carriers, brokers and dispatchers. In an announcement sent Tuesday, Jan. 28, CARB said the truck owners and operators that need to demonstrate their compliance with the regulation to brokers and dispatchers can obtain a verification certificate quickest by reporting online. Reporting by mail, CARB said, can take weeks to process.
“The responsible hiring party must perform due diligence by confirming that compliance statements are factual in the contract,” CARB’s email read. “If you become aware that one or more vehicles in the fleet do not comply, then you cannot continue to use the services of the fleet.”
For more information, go to CARB’s Truck and Bus website by clicking here. CARB also has a toll free diesel regulation information line at 866-6DIESEL (866-634-3735) and email at email@example.com.
One-third in state still live where air does not meet U.S. standards
By Tony Barboza
Air pollution in California has dropped significantly over the last decade, yet about one-third of the population lives in communities where the air does not meet federal health standards, state officials reported Thursday.
The evaluation of smog and soot levels was presented at a meeting in Sacramento of the California Air Resources Board, which oversees the state's progress in cleaning air that remains among the dirtiest in the nation.
Despite falling 15% to 20% in urban areas since 2003, smog remains above federal health standards in parts of Greater Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley, Sacramento and San Diego, the board's report said.
Of the state's five biggest urban areas, only the San Francisco Bay Area meets all federal standards for ozone — the worst component of smog — and fine particulate matter, or soot, according to the board, which took no action after hearing the staff report.
The assessment came as exceptionally dry and stagnant weather this winter has worsened air pollution across California and the Southwest, with some of highest levels in the Central Valley. Air board officials said continuing spells of bad air could set the state back.
"I don't think we should be too congratulatory because this year has been a bad year," said board member John Balmes, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco.
In the South Coast region, which includes Los Angeles and Orange counties, the number of high-ozone days has dropped 21% since 2003 and state officials now estimate about 60% of people — including all coastal residents — live where smog meets federal health standards. But 6 million people in inland areas still live with unacceptably smoggy air.
In the San Joaquin Valley, only one-quarter of the population enjoys air quality that meets federal health standards for ozone. Though the number of high-ozone days in the valley has fallen 35% since 2003, some 3 million people live in areas where smog levels are too high, according to the air board's estimates.
Fine-particle pollution, a bigger problem in winter, also has declined in California since 2003, though less steadily, air board officials reported. Levels in the San Joaquin Valley, for instance, rose to a peak in 2009 before dropping again. In the South Coast district, annual readings have dropped nearly in half since 2002 but remain above federal standards.
The report did little to assuage residents of the San Joaquin Valley, which has been cloaked in a thick haze of fine-particle pollution for many weeks since December. Air quality activists there responded with calls for new emissions reduction measures to bring immediate relief.
"It's visible and it's affecting our daily lives," said Dolores Weller, interim director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition. "Children are being kept indoors for days on end, and sporting activities are being canceled. If there's been an improvement in the last 10 years, we're not seeing it here."
Health studies link ozone and fine-particle pollution to respiratory illness and other health problems, including asthma, heart disease and cancer.
Curbing smog over the next decade will require big cuts in nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, according to the board's report. Those gases — emitted by vehicles, factories and power plants — react in the air to form ozone and fine particles.
Poor air quality in Western U.S. linked to China
BAKERSFIELD, CA- The lack of rain is causing air pollution concerns across the state. It's no surprise, the worst air quality is reportedly right here, in the San Joaquin Valley. A new study attributes bad air in the western united states, to Chinese exports.
The National Academy of Science reports 12% to 24% of daily sulfate concentration in the western U.S., is directly related to products manufactured in China, and exported here.
For the full article, please visit http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/local/story/poor-air-quality-in-western-us-linked-to-china/d/news/local/story/D2ZgqHFg8EqmxJBA252Aeg >
Owner-operators show business optimism for 2014
As January got rolling in earnest, owner-operators back from holiday breaks or just continuing on their way through record-low temps and reports of yearend rate increases in the spot freight market reflected a majority view that their businesses would fare better in 2014 than the prior year. “Outlook is profitable,” wrote reader Richard Young on Overdrive’s Facebook page.
Owner-operator Tilden Curl concurred. He was handed lemons with the California Air Resources Board’s Statewide Truck and Bus Rule, which this year is banning unmodified 1996-2006 model year diesel engines on its roadways. But Curl says he’ll use his proactive investment to make lemonade in 2014.
“My CARB-certified truck will be paid off this year and half of my miles are in California,” he noted. “I made the investment to update my equipment and charge what it costs to do business. Those that choose not to come to California only make it easier for me and the large companies to make better money…. It will probably be my best year ever.”
All well good for Curl, said operator Jason Smith, also commenting on Facebook: “2014 will be my last year in business. Thank you, CARB!”
Cummins ‘Pauses’ Development of 15L Nat-Gas Engine
By Seth Clevenger
Engine maker Cummins Inc. confirmed that it has “paused” the development of its planned 15-liter natural-gas engine due to “market timing uncertainty.”
The company said it will re-evaluate the demand and the market’s readiness for the ISX15 G later this year.
“While we believe natural gas power will continue to grow in the North American truck market, the timing of the adoption of natural gas in longhaul fleets preferring 15-liter engines is uncertain,” spokeswoman Christy Nycz House said in a statement. “We believe the adoption of natural gas in long haul fleets will be paced by a variety of factors beyond the engine and include fuel tank technology and public fueling infrastructure.”
The ISX15 G, first announced in March 2012, would be a spark-ignited engine that could run on either compressed or liquefied natural gas.
Cummins currently offers two natural-gas engines for heavy-duty trucks through its joint venture with Westport Innovations — the 12-liter Cummins Westport ISX12 G, launched last year, and the 9-liter ISL G.
Cummins was developing the ISX15 G outside of that joint venture.
By Seth Clevenger
New Report Sets a Course for Cleaner Freight Transportation in California
Electrification is a key strategy for reducing air pollution that harms health and contributes to climate change.SAN FRANCISCO (January 21, 2013) – A report released today outlines solutions for overhauling the state’s freight system to protect public health, meet air quality standards and slow the pace of climate change. Freight transportation in California creates air pollution that harms the health of communities exposed to its dangerous emissions and contributes to global warming.
The new study commissioned by the California Cleaner Freight Coalition, Moving California Forward, Zero and Low-Emissions Freight Pathways, evaluates strategies for modernizing how goods are moved through California. By evaluating alternatives to conventional diesel vehicles, the analysis aims to inform a statewide plan for cleaning up freight transportation.
The key report findings include:
Deploying electric transportation technologies that are currently in development or demonstration for local and short-haul trips would provide the greatest overall reduction in pollutants, and could eliminate tailpipe emissions in communities impacted by freight movement.
Moving goods by train and ship for regional trips could reduce emissions well beyond today’s cleanest diesel trucks.
Transporting containers double-stacked on railcars powered by the cleanest locomotives can reduce particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 75 percent.
Compared to the newest trucks, transporting truck trailers on flatbed railcars through the San Joaquin Valley would significantly reduce emissions in a region that suffers from high levels of pollution.
The Coalition cautions that any shift in freight movement to rail or ship, while providing regional pollution benefits, would need to ensure reduction in emissions, exposure, and health risks to those communities close to rail yards, rail lines, ports and shipping lanes.
“Low income, working class and communities of color disproportionately suffer health problems from air pollution from freight transport, and we have a right to clean air and healthy communities,” said Maricela Mares Alatorre, a resident of Kettleman City in the San Joaquin Valley where residents have suffered from high rates of birth defects and childhood cancer and many pollution sources including from freight transport along Interstate 5 and Highway 41.
“The cost of cleaning up the trucking and freight industry in California is nothing compared to the lost lives, elevated cancer risk, chronic respiratory conditions and other costs Californians have shouldered for years,” said Margaret Gordon, co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project. “Low-income communities, in particular, are paying with their health to allow the freight industry to do business in California.”
“It is critical that California has a clear plan to clean up our freight industry in 2014,” said Jesse Marquez, executive director of Californians for a Safe Environment. “As our report shows, our air pollution problem is so bad that communities from around the state are uniting to take on the issue. Moving to electrification and zero emission transportation technologies can literally save lives.”
Transforming the freight system is a large undertaking that will not happen overnight, which is why it is crucial that California’s Air Resources Board identify and implement long-term strategies to move our freight system into the 21st century.
“Moving our freight system off of polluting fossil fuels with clean electric power will result in faster cargo delivery without the pervasive pollution affecting some of the most vulnerable communities living along these polluted corridors,” said Diane Bailey, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We should build electric power into our existing freight systems however we can.”
“We don’t have to sacrifice economic success to achieve air quality, health and climate benefits,” said Don Anair, research and deputy director for the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Emerging technologies are presenting an opportunity to transform conventional freight vehicles into a low-carbon transportation system that cleans our air and reduces our oil consumption.”
Many of the report’s proposals can be achieved with technologies that are either available today or can be commercialized over the next several years—with appropriate investments and support from policymakers. The California Cleaner Freight Coalition urges the California Air Resources Board to adopt a sustainable freight plan in 2014.
Regional contacts are also available:
(Central Valley) Maricela Mares Alatorre, El Pueblo/People for Clean Air & Water of Kettleman City, 559-816-9298, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Central Valley) Thomas Helme, Valley Improvement Projects, 209-324-6414, email@example.com
(Los Angeles) Jesse Marquez, Coalition for a Safe Environment, 310-704-1265, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Bay Area) Margaret Gordon, West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, 510-257-5640, email@example.com
(San Diego) Joy Williams, Environmental Health Coalition, 619-474-0220 x110, Joy@environmentalhealth.org
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has brought the health effects of goods movement to a national stage. -Although any facility or equipment operator doing business in California will see these discussions as old hat, those outside of the Golden State may be in for a rude awakening. Policy makers have begun to align the goals of health and community activists with national policy goals for the future of the goods movement system in the United States especially in around maritime port complexes in the US. This has led to the emergence of a renewed discussion around the consequences of our global marketplace on the future health of our country. Environmental, health and community activists see this as a national issue and have turned to California to inspire and encourage the control of Diesel emissions associated with the movement of goods in the United States.
One question that permeated the discussion over the adoption of in-use diesel regulations in California is when other states are going to follow suit. One reason that other states have not jumped on the diesel control bandwagon is the lack of regulatory authority. California is unique because several air districts in the state are in non-attainment of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The Clean Air Act (CAA) directs the EPA to set NAAQS for the entire country which all states are required to meet.
This is a unique form of cooperative federalism where the feds set the standards and the states act on their own to achieve the standards. The feds have the final say in the approval or denial of these State Implementation Plans (SIPs), the basic roadmaps prepared by states to demonstrate how the NAAQS are going to be met for the target years. If a state fails to provide an enforceable SIP or cannot enforce the standards within an approved SIP, the federal government will step in and enforce or write the standards to achieve the NAAQS.
Granted, that was a pretty sparse explanation of a very complicated process, but more or less, that is the gist. Other states do not have the regulatory muscle to pass rules similar to the on-road truck and bus rule in California, which is why for now, outside of some limited port restrictions in other states, California has gone it alone, and has so far been relatively successful in implementing the in-use standards on heavy duty truck operators. The rule has also been successful in sending non-compliant trucks out of state or out of country, effectively exporting emissions to other jurisdictions.
Nevertheless, the only real hope for a consistent, nationally enforceable in-use diesel engine standard ports or otherwise, is to have the feds write their own national truck rule with state implementation required under any proposed SIP. Every Heavy duty diesel truck in the US would need to adhere to the standards unless an exemption is requested. Compliance would be achieved through a mix of financial incentives such as guaranteed loans, grants and buy downs with enforcement of the standards through a mix of state agency reporting and inspections with possible DMV registration bans of particular model year engines.
Anational truck regulation would be the only concept that would be nationally enforceable; effectively removing the states from the regulatory development process and limiting the possibility of multiple rules for multiple jurisdictions or individual challenges to localized emission reduction efforts. The national rule would also cease the exporting of the old diesel engines to other parts of the country; trucks would either need to be scrapped or moved outside the country.
Time will tell how this all pans out, it is worth it to note however that environmental, community and health groups are rallying around the need to control emissions from the national goods movement system and federal regulators are listening. The low hanging fruit of emissions reductions has and will continue to be the Heavy Duty Trucking fleet. Regardless of how one feels about the health effects of Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) exposure, all on-road, and even non-road diesel equipment operators need to understand that they will continue to be in the crosshairs for emissions reductions until the diesel pollutants associated with negative health effects from uncontrolled engines go the way of the Dodo bird.
(Reuters) - Black carbon, the soot produced by burning fossil fuels and biomass, is a more potent atmospheric pollutant than previously thought, according to a four-year international study released on Tuesday.
Emitted by diesel engines, brick kilns and wood-fired cookstoves, black carbon is second only to carbon dioxide as the most powerful climate pollutant, according to the study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.
But because black carbon only lasts in the atmosphere a matter of days, compared to carbon dioxide's atmospheric endurance of centuries, addressing it could be prime target for curbing global warming, the report said.
"This new research provides further compelling evidence to act on short-lived climate pollutants, including black carbon," Achim Steiner, chief of the United Nations Environment Program, said in a statement.
Steiner pointed to efforts under way to cut black carbon emissions from heavy-duty diesel vehicles, brick production and municipal waste disposal as part of the international Climate and Clean Air Coalition. The United States was one of the coalition's founders last year.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in mid-December also tightened limits on soot pollution from power plants, diesel engines and burning wood from levels set in 1997.
The report found black carbon's effect on climate is nearly twice what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in its landmark 2007 assessment.
At that time, climate scientists ranked black carbon third behind carbon dioxide and methane. The new research, conducted by a multinational team of 31 experts, moves black carbon up in the ranking.
The new assessment found black carbon emissions caused significantly higher warming over the Arctic and other regions, could affect rainfall patterns, including those of the Asian monsoon system, and have led to rapid warming in the northern United States, Canada, northern Europe and northern Asia.
The sooty particles that make up black carbon can be a major component of urban air pollution like that now blanketing Beijing, said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Washington-based non-profit Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development and a reviewer of the study before its publication.
"Black carbon is not only more important for climate than we thought, it also kills over a million people every year who contract deadly respiratory diseases by breathing air polluted by black carbon," Zaelke said in a statement.
The study was published four days after the United States released a draft assessment of the climate, finding that the consequences of climate change are now evident in U.S. health, infrastructure, water supply, agriculture and especially more frequent severe weather.
That report followed a U.S. announcement that found 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous United States, with thousands of individual weather records shattered.
(Reporting By Deborah Zabarenko; Editing by Paul Simao)
U.S. EPA Issues Guidance Letter on Diesel Exhaust Fluid
By Trucking Info website
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a guidance letter late last year to heavy-duty on-highway engine manufacturers outlining how it intends to determine the physical range of adjustment of diesel exhaust fluid quality for certification testing, according to DiscoverDEF.com.
Because operator intervention is needed to refill DEF, the letter says there is potential to add liquid other than DEF, either accidentally or intentionally. The agency says a financial motive could also exist to refill the DEF tank with other liquids, as well as diluted DEF.
At the time of EPA certification of the manufacturer's engine, the agency says it examine what means the engine maker has implemented inhibit DEF quality adjustment. It notes that sensors in current and previous model years have been able to detect poor DEF quality for many engines, but not all, DEF dilution scenarios.
“EPA expects that operators that would tamper with DEF quality would most commonly attempt to do so by diluting DEF with water. Dilution of DEF with water can be accomplished cheaply and easily…” the letter says. “This type of dilution would cause little to no immediate damage to the [engine’s] selective catalytic reduction system and would not affect performance characteristics apparent to the operator, such as developed power or fuel economy, though it would likely lead to a substantial increase in nitrogen oxide emissions."
EPA says using the cost range for DEF of $3 to $5 per gallon and assuming 25% dilution with water, an operator that drives 100,000 miles a year, achieves a fuel economy of 6 miles per gallon, and whose engine doses DEF at 3% of its fuel consumption rate, could save from $375 to $625 per year in DEF costs.
The incorporation of DEF quality sensors could be a suitable option and the EPA believes that urea quality sensors can be installed on new vehicles by 2016.
A copy of the letter is on the EPA website.
TRU Advisory: 13-25
Enforcement of the Broker-Forwarder-Shipper-Receiver Requirements Under the Transport Refrigeration Unit Regulation
Announcement by CARB
What is the purpose of this advisory?
This advisory explains the California Air Resources Board’s (ARB) enforcement plan for the freight broker, forwarder, shipper, and receiver requirements under the Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM or Regulation).1 These new requirements are needed to protect public health and ensure that TRU owners that have invested in cleaner equipment are not at a competitive disadvantage relative to noncompliant carriers.
When will these new requirements go into effect?
The new requirements for brokers, shippers, receivers went into effect January 1, 2013.
Who is subject to the new requirements?
The new requirements apply to the business entity that hires carriers for the transport of refrigerated goods on California highways and railways. This can be a broker, forwarder, shipper, or receiver. Carriers and their drivers also have new requirements.
What are the basic requirements?
Any business entity that hires carriers to transport perishable goods on California highways and railways must require the carriers they hire or contract with for transport of perishable goods, to only dispatch TRUs or TRU gen sets that comply with the TRU Regulation’s in-use performance standards. The hiring business entity must also provide their contact information to the carrier, which must then be carried with the driver.
Shippers and receivers must dispatch TRUs or TRU gen sets that comply with the TRU Regulation’s in-use performance standards if they travel on California highways or railways. Shippers and receivers must also provide information to the carrier about the shipper and receiver names and addresses.
Carriers must only dispatch compliant TRUs and TRU gen sets on California highways and railways. Carriers must also provide the driver with contact information for the shipper, receiver, and business entity that hired the carrier.
Drivers must, upon request by authorized personnel, provide their driver’s license, vehicle registration, bill of lading (or freight bill) with the origin and destination of the freight being transported.
1 TRUs and TRU generator sets are subject to the TRU Regulation under title 13 California Code of Regulations (13 CCR) sections 2477.1 through 2477.21. The requirements explained in this regulatory advisory for freight brokers, forwarders, shippers, receivers, carriers, and drivers are found in sections 2477.7 through 2477.11.
Drivers must also, upon request by authorized personnel, provide contact information for the carrier, shipper, receiver, and business entity that hired the carrier.
How and where will ARB enforce these requirements?
ARB inspectors will be inspecting TRUs at distribution centers, intermodal facilities, packing houses, cold storage warehouses, terminals, ports, railyards, border crossings, scales, roadside inspection centers, and truck stops. Citations will be issued when authorized enforcement personnel find violations of the requirements. State Law establishes penalties for violations of ATCM requirements of up to $10,000 per violation. ARB’s enforcement penalty policies are described in detail at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/enf/sb1402/policy.pdf. The proposed penalty amount may be adjusted based on the relevant circumstances, such as the extent of harm to public health, safety, and welfare; nature and persistence of the violation; compliance history of the defendant; preventive efforts and actions taken to ensure compliance prior to the violation; magnitude of effort required to comply; cooperation of the defendant; and financial position of the defendant.
Drivers that fail to provide the required driver information may be cited.
Carriers that dispatch noncompliant TRUs will be cited. Carriers may also be cited if their drivers indicate the carrier failed to forward to them the information from the hiring business entity.
Shippers and receivers that dispatch noncompliant TRUs will be cited. Penalties will likely start at $1,000 per violation. Shippers and receivers may also be cited if they fail to provide the shipper and receiver contact information to the carriers they hire.
Audits may be initiated against a hiring business entity if investigators find a pattern of multiple citations identifying the same business hiring noncompliant TRUs. As a first step, ARB investigators will audit the business entity that hired the carrier to determine if they used due diligence in their hiring processes. The hiring business entity will need to show the investigator documentation that shows their hiring procedures included adequate steps to ensure the carrier has the ability to dispatch compliant TRUs and required the carrier to dispatch compliant equipment. If that process is found to be inadequate, the hiring business entity will be cited and penalized.
What are some strategies that a hiring business entity might use to make sure they only hire carriers with compliant TRUs?
ARB’s Guidance for Brokers, Shippers, Receivers, Carriers, and Drivers on Hiring and Contracting for TRU-Carrier Transport of Refrigerated Goods on California Highways and Railways includes a number of strategies that hiring business entities can use. They include, but are not limited to:
- Send the carriers you normally do business with an annual notice that you will not hire a carrier that can’t show you that they are compliant with ARB’s in-use performance standards. Tell the carriers you do business with to bring their TRUs into compliance and register in ARBER.
- Require the carriers you do business with to show they can supply TRUs that are compliant with the TRU Regulation’s in-use standards. Require them to provide you with a current ARBER Certification Page for each of their TRUs. Build a file for each carrier you do business with that includes their current ARBER Certification Pages for the TRUs they will dispatch on California highways or railways. Require updated Certification Pages to maintain current compliance status.
- Encourage the carriers you do business with to only operate 100 percent compliant TRUs and to make sure they are listed on ARB’s 100 Percent Compliant Carrier List, if they plan to do business with you. Check ARB’s 100 Percent Compliant Carrier List to ensure the carriers you hire are currently listed as 100 percent compliant with ARB’s TRU Regulation in-use standards.
- When you advertise for an available load, make sure you require ARB-compliant TRUs. For example, the equipment specification on a load board should require an ARB-compliant TRU if the load could travel on California highways or railways.
- Contracts with refrigerated carriers need to include language that requires an ARB-compliant TRU if the load could travel on California highways or railways.
- Shippers should use bills of lading (or equivalent freight documents) for refrigerated loads that include bold language that the carrier or their agent signs next to, certifying that the equipment used to transport these goods is compliant with ARB’s TRU Regulation in-use standards.
What resources and links are available?
TRUs are refrigeration systems powered by integral diesel internal combustion engines designed to control the environment of temperature-sensitive products that are transported in trucks, trailers, shipping containers, and railcars. The emissions from these units are a source of unhealthful air pollutants including particulate matter, toxic air contaminants, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons, and pose a potential threat to both public health and the environment. These units often congregate in large numbers at California distribution centers, grocery stores, and other facilities where they run for extended periods of time to ensure their perishable contents remain cold or frozen. These distribution and loading facilities are often in close proximity to schools, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods. In 2004, the TRU Regulation was adopted by the Board to reduce diesel particulate matter emissions from TRUs and TRU generator set engines. The TRU Regulation is designed to accelerate the cleanup of existing (in-use) TRUs and TRU generator sets through retrofit with verified diesel emission control strategies (VDECS), engine repowers, use of Alternative Technologies, or unit replacements. The TRU Regulation’s in-use standards are phased in and will reduce diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions from in-use TRU and TRU generator set engines that operate in California. The Board adopted amendments to the TRU Regulation on November 18, 2010,2 and October 21, 2011.3
2 ARB’s Regulatory Activity webpage for the 2010 rulemaking is at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2010/tru2010/tru2010.htm
3 ARB’s Regulatory Activity webpage for the 2011 rulemaking is at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2011/tru2011/tru2011.htm
For more information
Additional questions may be addressed by calling the toll-free TRU Help Line at 888-878-2826 (888-TRU-ATCM). To obtain a copy of the regulation or other related compliance assistance documents, visit the TRU website at http://www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/tru/tru.htm. If you need this document in an alternative format or another language, please call 888-878-2826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. TTY/TDD/Speech users may dial 711 for a California Relay Service.
Si necesita este documento en un formato alternativo u otro idioma por favor llame al 1-888-878-2826 o contáctenos por correo electrónico a email@example.com. Para Servicios de Relevo de California (CRS) o para el uso de teléfonos TTY, marquen al 711.
CARB On-Road Truck Rule Reporting Deadline Looms - Thousands of truck operators in California are on the verge of extinction. The reporting deadline for compliance with the 2014 requirements of the California Air Resources Board CARB) infamous on-road truck and bus rule in on January 31, 2014. It is no secret that may fleet operators waited until the very last minute to address the CARB compliance needs for 2014 (See Tuesday, July 16, 2013 “Expiring Exemptions Inching Ever Closer...Are You Ready?”). These fleet operators are now scrambling to get something done before CARB comes a knockin.
Although procrastination has helped many succeed and overcome insurmountable odds, for many others it has truly become the assassin of opportunity. If fleet operators took a series of steps prior to January 1, 2014, they could have received a “good faith” extension to July 1, 2014 before 2014 compliance must be demonstrated. If an operator did not take the steps outlined in the “good faith” extension, they must meet the rule deadlines as of January 1, 2014. It would seem that as of late, evidenced by those currently coming out of the wood work, many missed this deadline and are now facing immediate upgrade requirements.
Operators across the state are slowly finding out that CARB means business; massive fines are still being issued for non-compliance with annual smoke testing requirements, a rule that has been on the books since the late 1990’s. Recently, as far as the on-road truck and bus rule is concerned, the CARB Enforcement Settlement website has become awash with settlements for truck and bus rule non-compliance going back to January 1, 2012. What adds insult to injuries inflicted from non-compliance is the fact that not only does a fleet operator need to pay the fines once they are issued, but they are given a short time-frame to upgrade their fleet to achieve full compliance. It becomes ad double whammy, all of which could have been avoided by being proactive and getting the fleet into compliance before the scheduled deadlines.
Most of the time, that is easier said than done. With razor thin profit margins considered a good year for most in the trucking industry, little opportunity is afforded to fleets for purchasing new or minimally complaint equipment. Grant funding has all but dried up and even the statewide loan program is limiting reserve amounts for larger lenders, effectively removing a leg of the stool out from under those fleets that could have benefitted from a state sponsored loan. Leave it to CARB to complicate the only viable program for fleets operating in California just for the sake of saving face.
Regardless of diminishing opportunities for assistance, Fleet Operators are still being faced with the stark decision, upgrade into compliance or face the regulatory gauntlet. There are resources that can help, but for the most part, fleets are left on their own to figure out what needs to be done to avoid fines. There are some limited educational opportunities available to fleets; anyone who is non-complaint and even those who think they are complaint should take all the help they can get. With complicated exemptions and expiring filing deadlines approaching fleets should welcome any and all outside direction. One of these opportunities is right around the corner, on January 23, 2014 at 10am California Fleet Solutions will be hosting a FREE 2014 compliance webinar. Click Here to Register. This is a free event that will cover 2014 compliance requirements. It will be a live interactive meeting that will afford participants the opportunity to ask questions in real time. Don’t miss this opportunity; sign up now, space is limited. Get Compliant!
Frederick, MD (December 4, 2013) - A new study released today by the Coordinating Research Council in cooperation with the Health Effects Institute highlights the robust low-emissions performance of the new generation of clean diesel technology manufactured starting in 2010. The study found a more than 60 percent reduction in emissions of nitrogen dioxide as compared to previous 2007 models, and 99 percent reduction compared to 2004 models. The study noted that the reductions "exceeded substantially even those levels required by law."
"These findings underscore just how clean this new generation of fuels, engines and emissions control technology really is, coming in substantially cleaner than required under the EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards" said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a Frederick, MD-based organization representing the diesel industry.
The study, the Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES), is a multi-party five year study to test the emissions and health effects of the new technology diesel engines to document the improvements that have been made and to ensure that there are no unintended emissions from this new technology. This portion of the ACES study (Phase 2) builds on the findings from Phase 1 completed in 2009 that found substantially lower levels of emissions of particulate matter than anticipated; in that case 2007 engines were 99 percent lower compared to 2004 models.
"Not only are the 2010 and later model year technology near zero emissions for fine particles, this study confirms that they are also substantially below the EPA/CARB standard for one of the key precursors to ozone formation (nitrogen dioxide)," said Schaeffer.
"These findings ultimately translate into clean diesel technology delivering significant clean air benefits for local communities. There is also great confidence in this new generation of clean diesel technology from those that use it every day. According to our research, today more than 11 percent of the commercial trucks and buses on the road are using the 2010 or newer generation of clean diesel technology; and more than one-third are using 2007 and newer technology. Not only are these heavy-duty trucks and buses lower in emissions for particulates and smog forming compounds like nitrogen dioxide as reported today, but they must continue to meet these near-zero clean air performance standards for 435,000 miles; almost four times longer than required for passenger cars," noted Schaeffer.
"Getting to these near-zero levels of emissions is a result of the highly integrated clean diesel system; cleaner ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, advanced engine technologies and emissions control systems," explained Schaeffer. "Meeting the 2010 standards for highway vehicles was a major milestone, but we're not done yet. Starting January 1, 2014, heavy-duty engine and truck makers will offer new models that comply with the additional new standards for lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and minimum fuel economy levels, as required by EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
"This clean diesel, clean air success story is due to the billions of dollars in investments made by engine manufacturers, fuel suppliers and emissions control technology companies. While this study is limited to highway diesel engines used in commercial trucks and buses, over the last five years virtually the same requirements (cleaner diesel fuel and progressively lower emissions standards) have been phased in for a large portion of new non-road engines. This coming year - 2014 - marks one of the key emissions milestones from some of the larger diesel engines used in off-road machines and equipment and marine vessels and locomotives," noted Schaeffer.
The study released today by HEI and CRC can be found via link at www.dieselforum.org.
ABOUT THE DIESEL TECHNOLOGY FORUM
Bad air quality not going away
By ESTHER AVILA
Unhealthy air threatens sporting events
For the past two weeks, the air quality in the Valley has been unfavorable — either for sensitive groups or for everyone.
“From January 1 to January 7, this has been an unhealthy area,” said Anton Simanov, outreach community representative for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, talking about the Porterville area.
It is all due to a ridge of high pressure that has refused to leave, resulting in stagnated air conditions, he said. The pollutants will continue to settle in the Valley, until the right combination of wind or pressure and rain clear the haze.
“We are not seeing any rain or wind. Our situation is pretty stagnate. It’s across the whole Valley. And the conditions are not helping,” Simanov said. “Looking at the current trend and looking at the weather forecast, it is not looking very good.”
Without wind or rain in the near forecast, the pollution is expected to continue, he said.
In the meantime, local schools are doing what they can to keep students safe.
Several local schools had the red “Poor Air Quality” flag provided by San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District flying next to the American and California flags.
At Burton School District’s William R. Buckley Elementary School, the red flag was flying for the second consecutive day.
Burton District school nurse, Amy Martinez, checks the air quality and let’s the P.E. teachers and custodians of each school site know the results, said Buckley Elementary principal Chastity Lollis.
“This is the first time ever we have been on an inside schedule when it is cold outside,” Lollis said. “Usually we see this kind of thing when it is hot. Not in January.”
But the school is prepared for unhealthy air quality days, she said.
“We have four flags — green, yellow, orange and red,” Lollis said. “The red is flying now. It’s a very unhealthy air quality day and when that happens, we keep our students inside for recess and P.E. We treat it as a rainy day schedule. Our concern is for the health and well being of all our students.”
When the area’s Air Quality Index, AQI for ozone and particulate matter — sooty air created by diesel engines, cars, and people burning fireplaces or other material, reaches “Unhealthy” or “Very unhealthy” status, a red flag is flown over the school.
The colorful flags indicate the following categories:
° Green — AQI of 0 to 50; Healthy air quality, outdoor activities permitted.
° Yellow — AQI 51 to 100; Moderate air quality. The air is unhealthy only for extremely sensitive children and adults. Outdoor activities permitted but school staff watch the children carefully for signs of distress, ensuring immediate access to medications for students with asthma.
° Orange — AQI 101 to 150; Unhealthy for sensitive groups, especially those with respiratory and cardiac conditions, those under the age of 18 and over the age of 55. From October to February, outdoor activities are only recommended between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
° Red — AQI 151 to 200; Unhealthy air for everyone. All students participate in indoor activities.
° Purple — 201 to 400; Very unhealthy and hazardous for everyone. All students participate in indoor activities.
Lollis said she has two giant bounce houses in the cafeteria. The students jump and play in the bounce house during recess.
“I really like this,” said Karson Amos, fourth grader at Buckley Elementary. “Everybody has a chance to jump. There’s a schedule and we all take turns. Every class gets 10 minutes at a time and we go in groups of five. But only during recess. Not at P.E.”
Physical education normally runs for half an hour, five days a week, he said.
“On regular days, we exercise, then we run one lap and then play a game,” Amos said. “But on these days, we just come in here and we watch a movie.”
On Wednesday, BEST, Burton’s after school program under the direction of Karen Spork, students also utilized the jump houses. The children screamed and chanted songs and rhymes as they jumped to their hearts’ content.
Other indoor activities include playing ‘silent ball’ or playing with Lego blocks or board games, Stork said.
District Athletic Director Rich Rankin for the Porterville Unified School district said the air quality is the worst he has ever seen.
“The last two days, we have sent warnings to the athletic directors at each school regarding the bad air quality,” Rankin said. “We’ve advised them about the poor air quality and have asked they take the necessary precautions.”
Reducing the amount of conditioning and increasing the number of breaks are among the precautions being taken, Rankin said.
“This is the first time we are dealing with this at this time of the year,” Rankin said. “We’ve had a few bad days of 110 degrees where we had to cancel an event but never in January. This is not the time of the year for that. I have never seen this before. We’re in uncharted territory.”
Rankin said they are monitoring the air quality and looking at Wednesday afternoon’s game. If necessary, they will make a phone call and cancel the game, he said at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.
“It’s not the ideal situation and hope we can still play,” Rankin said.
The game was not canceled but with the poor air quality expected to continue, Rankin said he will be keeping a close look at the daily numbers.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.
Who Should Report in 2014?
Reporting and clean-up requirements differ by Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) as outlined below.
Lighter vehicles (GVWR 14,001 to 26,000 lbs.)
- No reporting is required. Clean-up requirements begin January 1, 2015.
Heavier vehicles (GVWR more than 26,000 lbs.)
- No reporting is required for diesel truck owners that comply with the engine model year schedules, and are not using credits or extensions.
- Small fleets with three or fewer diesel vehicles that comply with the small fleet option.
- Owners must opt-in by January 31, 2014 to qualify for the following flexibility options or extensions (except where noted):
- Good Faith Effort
- Agricultural Vehicle Extension
- Log truck Phase-In
- Low-Use Exemption (January 31 any year)
- Low Mileage Construction Truck
- Manufacturer delay (January 31 any year)
- NOx Exempt/Added Area Extension (January 31 any year)
- PM Filter Phase-In Option
Updating Fleet Information
Fleets that already reported will need to update their owner and vehicle information.
- If you have added, or removed vehicles from your fleet, installed filters, or upgraded engines on any of your vehicles you must report that information within 30 days.
- If you reported for a mileage based extension such as Low Mileage Construction Truck, Agricultural vehicle, or Low-Use, you must report your vehicle's January 1 odometer reading by January 31, 2014, or when the vehicle is removed from the fleet.
Plug Gains on U.S. Funding to Boost Range of Electric Trucks
By Christopher Martin
Plug Power Inc. (PLUG), a maker of fuel-cells for warehouse forklifts, rose to a 32-month high after winning U.S. Energy Department funding to adapt its systems to extend the range of electric trucks.
Plug rose 39 percent to $3.85 at the close in New York, the highest since May 2011.
The Energy Department will provide $3 million for Plug to develop hydrogen fuel cells for 20 FedEx Corp. (FDX) delivery trucks built by Smith Electric Vehicles Corp., Latham, New York-based Plug said today in a statement.
The hybrid trucks will use 10-kilowatt fuel cell systems that double the 80-mile (129-kilometer) range of their lithium-ion batteries. Boosting the range will make the trucks viable for additional applications and may spur wider demand for vehicles that don’t require fossil fuels.
Plug has quadrupled since it said Dec. 4 that cost reductions and increasing orders may generate a profit this year after 14 years of losses.
SACRAMENTO — There are still a few days to go until Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his new budget proposal, but one of his ideas is already stirring controversy.
The governor wants to use cap-and-trade revenue to bolster the state's high-speed rail project, which has run into legal and financial trouble. The money could help keep construction going while bond funding is held up by a lawsuit.
The plan was described by sources who were not authorized to speak publicly before the governor releases his budget proposal Friday.
Cap-and-trade money is generated by forcing polluters to buy credits in order to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Brown previously raised the possibility of using the revenue for the bullet train last January, describing it as "a fiscal backstop" for the $68-billion rail project.
Although environmentalists support the bullet train, they don't want to see cap-and-trade money used to support it. Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California, said there are other projects that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions more quickly.
"High-speed rail will not get us reductions for many years," she said. "It doesn’t make sense to invest those funds now into something that will not get us reductions now.”
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, in a 2012 report, raised legal concerns over whether the money could be used for the bullet train. The report also said other environmental programs, such as improving energy efficiency, could also be a more cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Brown's use of cap-and-trade money generated controversy last year as well, when he borrowed $500 million from the sale of pollution credits to cover general fund expenses. The governor has promised to return the money, although a repayment schedule has not been released.
- More at http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-jerry-brown-new-budget-20140106,0,5134884.story#ixzz2pkQJOE2r
Bay Area Experiencing Worst Air Quality Since 2006
by Bay City News
The Bay Area is experiencing a winter with some of the worst air quality in years as a fourth consecutive “Winter Spare the Air” day was announced for Friday.
Friday will be the 26th day this season that an alert has been issued by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, which is banning wood burning in the region because of poor air quality.
A dry, stagnant weather pattern with little wind continues to linger in the Bay Area and does not appear to be leaving any time soon, air district officials said.
“Unfortunately, weather conditions that allow smoke to build up and cause public health impacts have not changed,” Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the air district, said in a statement today.
During a Spare the Air day, residents and businesses cannot use fireplaces, woodstoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices indoors or outdoors.
Homes that only have stoves or fireplaces as a source of heat are exempt from the ban.
Violators are subject to a $100 fine or the option to take a wood smoke awareness class. Violators face a $500 fine or higher for subsequent offenses.
Wood smoke has fine particles and other pollutants that make the air harmful to breathe and cause air pollution, according to the district.
Children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions are most susceptible to the effects of poor air quality, district officials said.
This winter has seen the worst air quality since 2006, primarily due to the dry weather, air district spokesman Aaron Richardson said.
There were 30 “Winter Spare the Air” days for the entire winter season in 2006-2007.
“We are threatening our record for (alerts). And we’re only halfway through the season,” Richardson said.
The winter season started Nov. 1 and runs until Feb. 28.
More information about the daily burn status is available at www.sparetheair.org or by calling (877) 4-NO-BURN.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News
San Joaquin Valley officials fight with EPA over air quality
By Tony Barboza
Local officials say that ozone has been reduced and hope to end fees they began three years ago to help pay for cleaning up the air. But the U.S. is skeptical and asks for more data.
After spending decades and hundreds of millions of dollars cleaning up stubbornly high levels of pollution, air quality officials in the San Joaquin Valley are telling federal regulators that enough is enough.
San Joaquin Valley officials say that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is unfairly blaming locals for air fouled by outside sources and is failing to take into account the pollution-trapping topography of the mountain-ringed basin.
"Once we've done everything we can, we should not be penalized," Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, said in reference to fees his agency has imposed on local drivers and businesses in recent years after failing to meet federal deadlines to curb smog.
Sadredin and others want the federal government to ease off and not hold local officials responsible for pollution blowing in from the Bay Area and Asia and exhaust from traffic passing through the San Joaquin Valley on California's two major north-south highways. Those pollutants, they say, mix with emissions from the region's sprawl of farms, cities and oil fields. It all gets boxed in by mountains and an inversion layer, bakes in the sunlight and becomes more concentrated, giving the San Joaquin Valley's 3.9-million inhabitants some of the nation's dirtiest air.
The dispute boiled over last month, when Sadredin and other local leaders declared that smog no longer exceeds a federal health standard for ozone. They urged the EPA to approve the finding so they can end fees they began charging drivers three years ago.
But federal regulators are pushing back.
The EPA says that readings at two of the most polluted air quality monitoring sites are flawed and do not prove that the region's air has been cleaned up enough to reach the agency's 1979 standard for ozone. The EPA says that it will hold the San Joaquin Valley to the same standards as the rest of the nation and has asked the district for more data to back up its contention.
Community activists call the San Joaquin Valley's ozone declaration premature — a publicity stunt — and insist that the region needs more restrictions on emissions from farms, dairies and industrial sites. They accuse air quality officials of protecting business interests over residents' health.
"We hear that we need to get off industry's back and stop complaining because the air is so much better now," said Dolores Weller, interim director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition. "They only want to talk about the positive, even though our air is still very dirty."
The region's clean-air rules are already among the most stringent in the nation and enacting stricter ones would bring economic hardship to a poor region with double-digit unemployment, air quality officials say.
Since the early 1990s, local regulators have adopted more than 500 air quality regulations, and pollution from industrial sources has dropped more than 80%. Days when hourly ozone concentrations exceeded limits have plummeted from 37 a year in 2003 to three in 2011 — and zero this year.
Breathing ozone, the worst component of smog, can harm children's lungs, trigger respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis and worsen heart and lung disease. In Fresno, children are diagnosed with asthma at twice the rate of California as a whole. On high ozone days, hospital visits for asthma rise nearly 50%, health studies show.
Businesses across the San Joaquin Valley's eight counties have spent an estimated $40 billion over the last 25 years to comply with clean air rules, and industry groups say the return on investment is diminishing.
Air regulators could find ways to cut industrial and agricultural emissions even further, said Anthony Wexler, director of the Air Quality Research Center at UC Davis, "but they have to walk a line between the economy and air quality, and there's always push and pull."
The air district has instead focused campaigns on individual behavior, broadcasting "air alerts" that ask residents to carpool and avoid drive-through service when hot, stagnant weather puts the San Joaquin Valley at risk for high ozone levels. One initiative targets parents idling their vehicles as they wait to pick up their children from school.
Yet the San Joaquin Valley remains the most polluted region in the nation outside of Southern California. Like Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley still falls short of newer, tougher health standards for ozone and fine particles, or soot. San Joaquin Valley air exceeds those limits dozens of days a year.
When severely polluted basins fail to meet the EPA's deadlines, the Clean Air Act requires local regulators to cut smog-forming emissions 20% or impose fees on major polluters to pay for emissions reduction projects.
When the San Joaquin Valley missed a deadline for ozone reduction in 2010, the EPA approved an alternative plan by the district to assess most of the penalty through a $12 increase on vehicle registration fees. The district has collected about $64 million from drivers and an additional $5 million from industrial facilities through the fees. It is using the money to replace school buses, diesel trucks and farm irrigation pumps with cleaner models.
At the same time, the district is paying to lobby federal lawmakers to repeal that provision of the Clean Air Act, calling it an "unfair federal mandate."
Sadredin, the air pollution district executive, has offered testimony to Congress that the government's air quality standards are impossible to meet. On a Fresno radio talk show over the summer, he described his agency's governing board as pro-business and conservative and said the ultimate solution would be for the EPA to "back off."
He and others note that about 80% of the San Joaquin Valley's air pollution comes from mobile sources, including cars, trucks and tractors that are regulated by the state and beyond the air district's reach. They also cite studies measuring polluted air drifting into the valley from Asia and argue that they should not be liable because it is from outside the United States.
The air district's latest disagreement with the EPA centers on air monitors in two of the San Joaquin Valley's smoggiest places. One in the Kern County community of Arvin was moved to a location with better readings after its lease expired in 2010 and another in Fresno was turned off nearly one-fifth of the time in 2011, according to the EPA.
San Joaquin Valley air regulators are now drafting a report to submit to state and federal regulators in support of their smog declaration. The document, they say, will explain that the Fresno air monitor was shut down for maintenance during the morning and in winter, when ozone is not a concern. It will also cite a study last summer that showed the new monitor in Arvin registers higher pollution levels than the old site.
"We may get bogged down on a technicality" Sadredin said, "but we believe we have solid scientific support."
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times
California trucking association continues pressing suit against CARB
By Jeff Crissey
Continuing a nearly two-year-long effort, the California Construction Trucking Association appealed a December 2012 court ruling in its case against the California Air Resources Board.
CCTA alleged that CARB’s slow rollout of increasingly strict emissions regulations that require truck wonders to upgrade to newer-model equipment or install soot filters.
“The CARB diesel engine regulation will ultimately force the replacement of most diesel powered commercial vehicles that do not meet 2010 EPA emissions standards in order to operate in the state of California,” said CCTA in a news release. “Despite claims used to justify this regulation by regulators and environmental groups that public grant funding is readily available to assist truckers in complying — this is not true.”
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Pilot program may reduce truck idling at ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach
By Karen Robes Meeks, Long Beach Press Telegram
Trade industry leaders on Wednesday launched a pilot program that could change the way trucks and terminals operate at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
If successful, the program would help reduce the number of truck trips, save on fuel consumption and improve air quality, officials said.
Officials went live with the Freight Advanced Traveler Information Program, a $750,000 demonstration funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Administration that would allow drivers and schedulers to plan for container pickups based on real-time information.
The six-month project involves Yusen, a marine terminal at the Port of Los Angeles that handles about 1,400 containers a week, and a fleet of 50 trucks from Rancho Dominguez-based Port Logistics Group, which would be outfitted with systems to let drivers and schedulers know when drivers can arrive to pick up containers.
The Transportation Department is expected to publish the results of the project, which has a goal of reducing fuel consumption and truck trips by 15 percent.
Mike Johnson, president of the Harbor Trucking Association and director of intermodal operations at Port Logistics Group, called the demonstration project “groundbreaking.”
“This is the first time where we are going to have the opportunity to really communicate with the marine terminals … (and) where we can do some serious planning on how to create efficiencies where there haven’t been before,” Johnson said.
Currently, when a truck arrives at a terminal, it waits in line to pick up cargo, a process that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to more than two hours. Many trucks idle at the ports because they are waiting for their containers, which are often times at the bottom or in the middle of hundreds of other containers.
“I can’t tell you how much congestion there is at the port,” Johnson said. “It’s unbelievable every single day, and it’s important that we reduce those turn times.”
The system, led by Cambridge Systematics, uses software developed by Productivity Apex that gives drivers and terminal operators a sense of when is the best time to pick up a container based on a math formula that takes in a number of variables, including driver availability, traffic conditions and other factors.
By using Bluetooth proximity readers in and around the marine terminal, the system can communicate congested locations to truckers and dispatchers, and that information can be provided in different languages, Johnson said.
“With the advance information, terminals can pre-plan their moves,” Johnson said. “When you come to a gate, it will direct you to a lane to get you in and out faster.”
The Port of Los Angeles supports the technology and is proud that Yusen Terminals in involved in the demonstration, said Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield.
“As a stakeholder, it’s pretty exciting technology,” Sanfield said. “We’re hoping that the test expands to other container terminals in Los Angeles and Long Beach.”
Contact Karen Robes Meeks at 562-714-2088.
Air pollution battle pits administration against GOP-led states
The Supreme Court seems receptive to the call for tougher environmental rules to reduce cross-border air pollution from Midwestern and Southern states.
By David G. Savage, L.A. Times
WASHINGTON — In a regional air pollution battle with partisan overtones, the Obama administration appeared to make headway Tuesday in persuading the Supreme Court to allow tougher federal environmental standards to prevent ozone and other emissions from coal-producing Midwestern and Southern states from wafting over Northeastern states.
The politically charged dispute pits the Obama administration and environmentalists against mostly Republican-led states with less stringent industrial pollution controls, as well as the electric power industry.
In something of a surprise, most justices sounded as if they were leaning toward restoring the Environmental Protection Agency's so-called good neighbor rule to reduce cross-border air pollution. Called for under the Clean Air Act to prevent one state's pollution from harming another, the proposed EPA rule seeks to impose federal pollution limits on states.
But the rule has proved difficult to implement. In 2008, an earlier version proposed by the George W. Bush administration was rejected by the courts because it did not go far enough to protect the East Coast states. Last year, two Bush-appointed judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit blocked the latest version, crafted by the Obama administration. The judges said the rule went too far in imposing federal limits on the states.
In urging the high court to reverse that decision, Deputy Solicitor Gen. Malcolm Stewart said the EPA rules were needed "because of widespread noncompliance" by states whose power plants were sending pollution toward the East.
Northeastern states have long complained that despite tough anti-pollution standards imposed on their businesses and drivers, poor air quality continues to be a costly and dangerous problem, largely because of coal-fired power plants in states such as Kentucky and Ohio. Those emissions are carried to the Eastern Seaboard by prevailing winds.
The EPA said its proposed stricter limits on ozone and other air pollutants would save up to 34,000 lives a year, spare hundreds of thousands of people from asthma and other respiratory problems, and save the nation at least $120 billion a year. The upgrades to power plants and other costs could total more than $2 billion a year, the EPA said.
Stewart insisted the smokestack limits would "protect the public health and strike a fair balance between the competing interests of upwind and downwind states."
Opponents of the EPA rules said the agency exceeded its authority and should have given states an opportunity to reduce emissions on their own.
Fourteen states, led by Texas, urged the court to throw out the Obama administration rule. The EPA "has written the states out of the Clean Air Act" by imposing a federal rule, said Jonathan Mitchell, the Texas state attorney. He was supported by lawyers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The EPA had the support of nine states — New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Vermont — as well as the cities of New York, Chicago, Baltimore and Philadelphia. In a friend-of-the-court brief, their lawyers argued that the stricter limits on smokestack pollution were needed and long overdue.
Only Justice Antonin Scalia sharply challenged the government's position during the 90-minute oral argument.
The court's four liberals appeared to agree with the administration's argument that the EPA was simply trying to enforce the Clean Air Act. The agency is due "substantial deference," Justice Elena Kagan said.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy also said the law appeared to give the EPA flexibility.
Although the state versus state battle is largely rooted in geography, partisan elements are hard to ignore. Most of the complaining East Coast states are led by Democrats, while the Midwestern and Southern states are Republican-dominated.
Illinois, President Obama's home state, split with its Midwest neighbors to support the EPA rule. New Jersey, meanwhile, led by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, declined to sign a separate but related EPA petition this week in which his fellow East Coast states called for even tougher rules to be imposed on their Midwestern counterparts.
Environmental advocates said they were encouraged by what they heard.
"A majority of the justices seemed to think the design of the cross-state air pollution rule was reasonable," said Vickie Patton, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund. "The millions of Americans who are suffering from smog pollution should not have to wait because of more years of delay."
CARB sued over DPF requirement as OOIDA alleges rule is unconstitutional
By James Jaillet
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has sued the California Air Resources Board over the agency’s requirement that 2006 year-model and older trucks be retrofitted with a particulate matter filter to run in the state, alleging the regulation is unfairly costly, not beneficial and unconstitutional.
OOIDA filed the suit Dec. 6, asking the court to permanently stop CARB from enforcing the retrofit regulation for truck owners and operators who live outside of or primarily conduct business outside of California. OOIDA says the rule violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution and discriminates against out-of-state truckers.
CARB’s rule, which begins Jan. 1, requires that year-model trucks 1996-2006 be retrofitted with a diesel particulate filter to operate in the state or potentially face hefty non-compliant fines.
OOIDA’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of California, says the regulations “have caused and will continue to cause irreparable injury to these truckers who have effectively been shut out of the California market because of the costs of compliance.
Moreover, OOIDA alleges in its suit that the CARB regulations will “not result in any measurable global climate change, nor in any measurable reduction of the effects of global warming,” thereby not justifying the costs for truck owners to comply.
With its filing today, OOIDA became the third party to have an active suit against CARB over its Truck and Bus Regulation, as the California Construction Trucking Association filed a suit in March 2011 and has appealed on-decisions in the case since — the most recent of which coming in January of this year — and the Alliance for California Business filed a suit last month claiming CARB failed to note defects and potential fire-causing dangers of the required particulate filters.
Jim Johnston, OOIDA’s president, says out-of-state operators are disproportionately adversely affected by the rules, as they have to spend the same amount of money as in-state operators to comply even though they run much fewer miles in the state. “CARB has overstepped its bounds by requiring trucks from other states to be upgraded in order to operate in California,” Johnston said.
CARB has been contacted for a response to the suit, which will be published when it becomes available.
CARB has announced various proposals in recent weeks to either postpone deadlines or offer exemptions for some out-of-state drivers. Click here to read more on them.
- See more at: http://www.ccjdigital.com/carb-sued-over-dpf-requirement-as-ooida-alleges-rule-is-unconstitutional/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_content=12-09-2013&utm_campaign=CCJ&ust_id=6943b2f353&#sthash.KGXhIsJ9.dpuf
Dozens of Solano farmers, business owners object to air rules
Copyright belongs to Melissa Murphy/ MMurphy@TheReporter.com
Air quality regulations handed down from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) are quite the contentious topic in Solano County.
More than 30 people, mostly small-business owners and farmers, attended a town hall meeting Wednesday evening hosted by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Solano, to express their concerns about costly regulations to the state and to Mary Nichols, who chairs the air board.
The meeting was aimed at addressing how ARB regulations intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions affect both local and statewide businesses and how policymakers and regulators can mitigate the adverse impacts to these businesses.
"One shoe doesn't fit all," said Derrick Lum, president of the Solano County Farm Bureau.
Lum and other farmers with small businesses that own tractors were concerned that they would have to buy new equipment, based on information they were given from the state about the new regulations. He explained that while their tractors are old, they have very few hours on them and are still reliable.
John Pierson, who owns 20 acres, owns two tractors.
"Tell me how I'm going to make 20 acres pay for two new tractors," he said.
Representatives from the ARB, however, clarified that they "don't have any plans for regulations in Solano County." They explained that their focus is on the Central Valley, where emissions are greater.
Others were concerned about the impact of the regulations on small businesses.
"We haven't recovered from the recession," said Betty Plowman from Dixon, who owns a small-farm trucking company.
Herman Rowland, owner of the Jelly Belly Candy Co., said he can't focus on running his business because of undue regulations. "We're staying in California," he said. "You have to understand the impact to small business. ... I want you to know there is more to it."
He said the costly regulations makes it hard to hire more people.
Chuck Timm, with the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce, explained that the small businesses he represents can't deal in cap-and-trade credits, in which larger companies that contribute to pollution are credited for reduced emissions.
"What can you do specifically to protect small businesses?" he asked the chair.
Nichols explained that small businesses and even residential customers can see a credit on their utility bills starting next year.
She acknowledged that, as with all regulations, the new rules create winners and losers and that it will be harder for some to comply with the regulations. That's why, according to Nichols, the ARB gives more time, adds flexibility and even includes exemptions in its rules. It's also why the board seeks public input ahead of time.
"Be more active in the organizations that represent you," she said. "We try really hard to make sure you're involved on the front end.
"We're trying to reach a goal to clean up the air," Nichols continued. "In doing so, we're trying to create a level playing field."
She explained that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which set the 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal into law.
It directs the ARB to begin developing actions to reduce greenhouse gases and prepare a scoping plan to identify how best to reach a goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.
Frazier said he understood the impact of the economy on small businesses because he, too, is a small-business owner in the construction industry.
"I agree that small business has been impacted and that those regulations before the recession continued during the recession," he said. He promised that the dialogue with the state will continue.
Follow Staff Writer Melissa Murphy at Twitter.com/ReporterMMurphy.
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