The goal of eliminating pollution at the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex is one that everybody applauds, but how to get there is proving to be challenging and not so unanimous.
As one observer said, the devil is in the details.
In a rare joint meeting of the Los Angeles and Long Beach port governing boards, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently urged commissioners to build a plan with measurable results to get to zero emissions by 2035.
He encouraged commissioners “to be bold, to set a very high bar, to not just go for glitter and generalties but to hold ourselves accountable with frameworks that we can measure and results we can share. We shouldn’t be scared of that.”
Those are strong marching orders that we applaud, but Garcetti’s requests reveal the difficulty port officials will face in bridging industry concerns about the costs of green technology and demands to clean up the environment. Read more >
Ports of L.A., Long Beach pursue next phase of Clean Action Plan
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are “aggressively deploying zero and near-zero emission trucks and cargo-handling equipment and expanding programs that reduce ship emissions” as part of the next phase of the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), spokesmen said.
Proposals will also focus on freight infrastructure investment, innovation and technology to improve supply chain efficiency, comprehensive energy planning, and increased advocacy for stricter emissions standards and government incentives to help pay for projects that advance testing and commercialization of zero and near-zero emission vehicles, the twin ports said a combined statement.
The updated CAAP provides one of California’s first opportunities to implement the vision laid out in the State’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan.
Read more >
Ports of LA and Long Beach to expand clean-air initiatives
By Donal Scully
The governing boards of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the busiest two container ports in the US, have announced a joint public meeting to be held on November 17 to discuss updating the San Pedro Bay Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP).
On the agenda of the CAAP Discussion Document will be how to expand the clean air initiatives that have already shown significant success in reducing air pollution related to port activities over the past 10 years since the CAAP began.
The figures show the neighbouring ports’ pro-active approach to lowering emissions has seen diesel particulates down by 85%, nitrogen oxides by 50% and sulfur oxides by 97% over that time. Read more >
How the Port of Oakland cut 76% of its diesel emissions in 10 years
By Jennifer McKevitt
The Port's actions are laudable, but above all show the power of benchmarking, goal-setting and stakeholder communication or standards for achieving sustainability goals. A close look at the Port of Oakland's 2015 Seaport Air Emissions Inventory report reveals the long-term emission reduction process.
First, the Port commissioned an emission inventory in 2005, to set a benchmark. Then, the Port released a "Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan" in 2009, in which it details goals, forecasts and a plan to reduce diesel particulate matter emissions by 85% by 2020. Over the years, the plan added initiatives on clean trucks, seaport air emissions, clean water and business partnerships to achieve the goal. Read more >
Wave of environmental regulation heading for California ports
The tightrope that California ports must walk in balancing the commercial needs of their private-sector tenants with the demands of state and local environmental regulators played out last week at events in Oakland and Los Angeles-Long Beach. Read more (you must register on their website for free) >
A Vicious Cycle: How LA’s Record Breaking Smog May Exacerbate Itself
By Sami Grover
Southern California recently experienced some of its worst smog in years. As Tony Barboza of the LA Times reported, persistent inversion layers caused by unusually hot, stagnant weather were trapping ozone and other smog particles, creating a build up of dangerously contaminated air.
What’s interesting is the fact that the sources of these ozone emissions — trucks, cars, forest fires, etc. — are also major sources sources of the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for heating up our planet and increasing the likelihood of such hot, stagnant weather in the first place.
It’s a classic example of a “negative feedback loop,” in which emissions cause local smog issues while also driving climatic changes that will make these smog conditions worse. In some instances, there may even be a third layer to this climate-air quality double whammy: with smog causing individuals to take their car rather than walk or cycle in polluted air. Read more >
World Logistics Center, air district agree to cash settlement for Moreno Valley project
By DAVID DANELSKI AND IMRAN GHORI
A lawsuit settlement between Moreno Valley and regional air quality officials over the planned World Logistics Center calls for the developer to pay millions toward air cleanup programs.
Under the agreement, developer Highland Fairview will pay the South Coast Air Quality Management District 64 cents per square foot as the giant warehouse complex is built. It’s expected to encompass 40.6 million square feet when completed.
The air district stands to gain as much as $26 million over 15 years in the agreement. The project would be the size of 700 football fields on what is now mostly farmland in eastern Moreno Valley.
A spokesman for Highland Fairview president and CEO Iddo Benzeevi said Benzeevi would have no comment. Read more >
EPA, NHTSA publish Phase 2 fuel efficiency rule
By Kevin Jones
It’s official: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Tuesday published in the Federal Register 2,762 pages of the next truck fuel efficiency rule, “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles - Phase 2.”
The rule was finalized in mid-August; Tuesday’s publication starts a 60-day countdown to the date the rule takes effect.
Called for by President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the rule sets GHG emissions targets through 2027, and is a follow-up the Phase 1 targets put in place by the Obama administration in 2011. That initial round covered model years 2014-2018. Read more >
New Jersey's Ambitious Plan to Clean Up the Port Authority's Mess
By Max Rivlin-Nadler
With Bridgegate and the now-fatal underfunding of New Jersey Transit dominating the headlines, it's easy to forget about other botched infrastructure projects in the Garden State. Take the Port Authority's incredibly mismanaged and ill-designed trucks replacement program, for example: Launched in 2009, it offered drivers grants to help pay for new, cleaner vehicles — up to $25,000 each. Most drivers make less than $30,000 a year; for many, especially those driving rigs with the older, dirtier-burning engines that the program meant to phase out, it was too good a deal to pass up. But the grant program was at best cosmetic. A new truck costs as much as $100,000; many drivers went into serious debt to cover the upfront capital, some ending up as much as $75,000 in the hole. To minimize the debt burden, the only alternative for many was to purchase trucks that were already years old, with unfamiliar emissions systems needing specialists to fix. Sometimes these replacements died on the side of the Jersey Turnpike. Read more >
California pumps US$363m into low-emission sector incentives
California's Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted a revised funding plan for proceeds from the cap-and-trade programme, which includes putting more clean vehicles in disadvantaged communities and will see US$363m pumped into the initiative.
The investments range from supporting increased numbers of zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and buses to rebates for low- and zero-emission passenger vehicles.
"The investment of $363m from our cap-and-trade programme for these low-carbon transportation projects will continue to drive the market for new technologies and put more ultra-clean and zero-emission trucks, buses and cars into the communities throughout California that need them the most," said CARB chairwoman, Mary Nichols.
The revised plan for fiscal year 2016-17 keeps much of the original funding plan (approved in June, 2016) intact, while addressing the smaller budget appropriation of US$363m. Read more >
How to Reduce Diesel-Engine Emissions at Ports
By: Jessica Lyons
US ports can reduce emissions from diesel-powered ships, trucks and other port equipment through a variety of strategies and clean technologies, according to an EPA report.
National Port Strategy Assessment: Reducing Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gases at US Ports examines current and future emission trends from diesel engines in port areas, and explores the emissions reduction potential of strategies like replacing and repowering older, dirtier vehicles and engines and deploying zero emissions technologies.
US ports are set to expand significantly as international trade continues to grow, and the size of ships coming to ports increases. This growth means more diesel engines at ports emitting carbon dioxide. These engines also emit fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants that contribute to serious health problems. Read more >
Ports Can Cut Diesel-Engine Emissions by Replacing Equipment, EPA Report Says
By Erica E. Phillips
The nation’s ports can reduce the harmful effects of diesel-engine emissions by replacing old equipment and improving cargo-handling operations, according to new research published Thursday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA researchers evaluated different methods of reducing emissions from diesel-powered trucks, trains, ocean vessels and cargo-handling cranes at the nation’s seaports. For instance, replacing older drayage trucks—which haul cargo to and from port terminals—with newer, cleaner diesel trucks could reduce particulate-matter emissions by as much as 62% in the next five years, according to the new research.
“Diesel engines are the modern-day workhorse of the American economy,” the report said, “and although they can be reliable and efficient, older diesel engines can emit significant amounts of air pollution...which impact human health and the planet.” The report was part of the agency’s Ports Initiative, a collaborative effort with industry and government representatives as well as community groups that aims to reduce pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions. Read more >
Gov Jerry Brown signs four climate change bills in downtown Fresno
By Gene Haagenson
The bill signing took place on top of a downtown parking garage, with a view of the Valley's air pollution problem. Something Governor Brown said the legislation will help ease.
"The air is bad, a lot of kids have asthma, a lot of old folks have bronchitis and other kind of respiratory diseases. And you put this poison into the air, you can actually take it out. That's what this bill is all about."
The four different pieces of legislation aim to use $900 million in cap and trade funds to pay for new clean energy projects, like public transportation, and the governor said put people to work.
"And those are good jobs. Whether it's the high speed rail which has 500 people working with solid jobs, with good benefits, or many of the programs I am signing into the law today. This is how you move people into the middle class," said Brown.
Along with money for electric cars, and walking trails funds will go to help agriculture be cleaner.
"The dairies and all that stuff you ever go by and look, those waste ponds and all that-- I won't say what the word is, but you know what it is. That could all be clean energy. And so can a lot of other things," said Brown. Read more >
Sustainable Freight Action Plan Gets Mixed Reviews
By Billie Greer
The recently released Sustainable Freight Action Plan, which tries to balance economic and environmental objectives in the race to meet climate protection goals in California, is getting mixed reviews.
Developed by several state agencies in conjunction with stakeholder groups, the Plan is intended to meet the objective of improving efficiency and reducing pollution of the freight transport system in California, as set forth by Governor Brown in an Executive Order issued last year.
California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols said, “We listened to stakeholders, incorporated changes and will consult with them as we put the Plan into action. This dialogue…is the underpinning for the successful transformation of our freight transport system and the multiple benefits it brings to our environment, communities and our economy.” Read more >
Report: California lawmakers are leading the way with new climate change mandates
By Chris Chin, Reuters
California legislature is once again setting the new laws to help combat climate change. They are, after all, the leading entity that led the first efforts of enforcing America’s Clean Air Act on automobile emissions.
However, these new greenhouse emissions mandates aren’t just focusing on the reduction of car emissions. Now, the new bill is intended to focus on improving California’s infrastructure. In the press conference for the vote, members of the Senate said the new requirements will affect all industries in the state, from agriculture, to oil refining, and even public utilities.
In a recent state Senate voting poll, a 25-13 support was recorded to set a new target for the state’s emissions. The goal is to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions to levels equivalent to 40 percent below the recorded amount in 1990, by the year 2030. Through the voting process, California proudly said that they’re on track for meeting their original goal for 2020 of reducing emissions back to levels recorded in the year 1990.
Read more >
Incentives help offset truckers’ costs in cleaning air: Guest commentary
By Shawn Yadon
Recently, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has been publicly criticized for “backsliding” on air quality by allegedly relying on incentives to clean the air, rather than regulations. But that’s far from the whole story.
Contrary to what some would lead you to believe, California has the toughest air quality rules and regulations in the country and nowhere is tougher on air quality in California than the South Coast.
Between 2008 and 2023, truckers will invest almost $1 billion annually in cleaner equipment. By 2023 it will be mandatory that all trucks on the road cut diesel soot by more than 99 percent. These existing regulations will also reduce smog-forming emissions in the South Coast by more than 70 percent from today’s levels.
Not content with this amazing progress, the state and the South Coast are pushing for new regulations including a federal engine standard which could result in a virtual elimination of smog-forming pollutants from trucks over the next few decades.
Let’s be clear. The incentives that some special interests label as too business-friendly exist to help offset the significant and often burdensome costs associated with meeting these myriad regulations. Many wrongly believe incentives shift the cost to the taxpayers and let industry off the hook but incentives are no free ride. Read more >
Trucking Industry Cautiously Embracing New Federal Standards
By Amy Harder and
WASHINGTON—Major truck manufacturers and operators of large commercial fleets cautiously embraced federal standards released Tuesday requiring cuts in fuel usage of big trucks, one of the last in a long line of regulations President Barack Obama has issued over the past several years seeking to clamp down on greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. economy.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department jointly announced the final standards for big vehicles ranging from vans to garbage trucks to 18-wheelers that requires up to 25% lower carbon emissions and fuel consumption in certain models over the next decade compared with today.
Marking a departure from the divisive debates over Mr. Obama’s climate agenda, many executives in the trucking industry backed the standards, saying they ultimately help cut down fuel costs across large commercial fleets of trucks. Read more >
Thousands of lives could be saved in California by stricter air pollution limits, study finds
By Tony Barboza
More than 2,000 Southern Californians die early each year from polluted air, and the region would benefit the most of anywhere in the country from reducing ozone and fine particle pollution below current federal limits, a new study has found.
The analysis by scientists at New York University and the American Thoracic Society, released Wednesday, estimated that more protective air quality standards would prevent 3,632 deaths a year in California, more than one-third of the 9,320 early deaths linked to dirty air nationwide.
The study estimates 1,341 avoidable deaths from pollution each year in the Los Angeles metro area and 800 in Riverside-San Bernardino. The region has “the most to gain” from attaining tougher air quality standards because of its large population and high pollution levels, according to the study published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, a peer-reviewed journal.
Southern California has the nation’s highest levels of ozone — the corrosive gas in smog — and does not meet federal standards for fine particles, harmful soot and chemical-laden specks of pollution that can lodge deep in the lungs. Read more >
HomeTrucking TechnologyElectric Vehicles
Economics Will Push Adoption of Self-Driving, Electric Trucks
By Jerry Hirsch
Look for semi-trucks to become more intelligent and electric.That’s the assessment of Morgan Stanley Research analyst Ravi Shanker.
While there are hurdles, Shanker argues in a recent report to investors that powerful economic and regulatory forces will push the trucking industry toward electric, self-driving trucks. Look for autonomous trucks to be introduced in 2020, “around the time we expect to see the launch of electric semis, right as the new fuel economy and emissions regulations for commercial trucks gather steam,” Shanker said.
Established truck manufacturers and start-ups are already moving in that direction.
Daimler Trucks, the Mack division of Volvo Trucks and Tesla Motors all are developing electric trucks. Read more >
Mercedes-Benz is presenting the first fully electric truck for heavy distribution operations
The world's most successful truck manufacturer Daimler Trucks is presenting the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck in Stuttgart today, as the first fully electric truck with an admissible total weight of up to 26 tonnes. This means that in the future, heavy trucks will take part in urban distribution operations with zero local emissions and hardly a whisper. The market launch of this technology is conceivable for Daimler Trucks at the beginning of the next decade. In the light distribution sector, Daimler Trucks has already been impressively demonstrating the day-to-day suitability of the fully electric truck in customer trials with the Fuso Canter E-Cell since 2014. The development of electric trucks and series production maturity are fixed parts of the strategy of Daimler Trucks to build on our technological leadership. For this purpose a considerable part of the future investments by the truck division in the fields of research and development flow in the further development of the full electric drive.
"Electric drive systems previously only saw extremely limited use in trucks. Nowadays costs, performance and charging times develop further so rapidly that now there is a trend reversal in the distribution sector: the time is ripe for the electric truck. In light distribution trucks, our Fuso Canter E-Cell has already been undergoing intensive customer trials since 2014. And with the Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck, we are now electrifying the heavy distribution segment up to 26 tonnes. We intend to establish electric driving as systematically as autonomous and connected driving," says Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, responsible for Daimler Trucks & Buses at the Board of Management. Read more >
Tesla to enter the semi truck business, starting with ‘Tesla Semi’ set to be unveiled next year
By Fred Lambert
Probably the biggest surprise to come out of Elon Musk’s ‘Master Plan Part 2’ is that Tesla is developing a semi truck set to be unveiled next year. Although completely in line with its mission to accelerate the advent of electric transport, it’s still a whole new business for Tesla.
All-electric trucks are rare. BYD developed a model, which it started recently testing in a pilot project in the port of Los Angeles, but it is still a small, almost nonexistent, business. Read more >
The port that fuels L.A.'s economy and fouls its air gets a pollution-reduction team
By Tony Barboza
Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday announced the appointment of an advisory panel tasked with reducing air pollution from the Port of Los Angeles by expanding the use of zero-emissions technology.
The 10-member Sustainable Freight Advisory Board, made up of representatives from industry, environmental groups, labor, and air quality agencies, will advise the city-owned port on how to work with manufacturers to develop and deploy cleaner trucks, trains, ships and cargo-handling equipment.
Trade passing through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports support hundreds of thousands of jobs across Southern California. Read more >
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has turned back an attempt to authorize driver-assistive truck platooning technology on state highways.
State law now prohibits truck and bus drivers from following another such vehicle within 300 feet. Affected drivers are also prohibited from following another vehicle more closely than is “reasonably safe and prudent.”
House and Senate lawmakers voted to advance a lengthy bill to the governor that includes a provision to setup a six-year pilot program to exempt from the state law truck platoons of up to two vehicles.
Nixon describes the technology as allowing multiple long-haul trucks to travel in tandem, with less than 50 feet separation, using wireless and radar-based technology to synchronize the braking and acceleration of the two “platooned” trucks.
The Democratic governor acknowledged that automated driving technology has advanced significantly within recent years; however, he said the “long-term safety and reliability of this technology remains unproven.”
“That fact was tragically highlighted with the recent fatality involving a self-driving passenger vehicle,” Nixon wrote in his veto letter.
In that incident, the driver of a Tesla Model S that was in autopilot mode drove itself under a tractor trailer that had crossed a divided highway. The motorist was killed. Read more >
Clean Trucks: Much Needed and Ready to Deliver
By Jason Mathers
There was some good news from the U.S. Energy Information Agency recently. It found that the Clean Trucks program, which is expected to be jointly finalized this summer by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), will deliver huge carbon emission reductions.
The Clean Trucks program is designed to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the freight trucks that transport the products we buy every day, as well as buses, heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans, and garbage trucks. The program’s first performance standards went into effect in 2014. The EPA and DOT are currently developing a second phase of performance standards. Strong standards can help keep Americans safe from climate change and from unhealthy air pollution, reduce our country’s reliance on imported oil, and save money for both truckers and consumers. Read more >
Assemblymember introduces legislation to alleviate port congestion
Seventieth District Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) introduced legislation on June 22 to streamline the movement of goods travelling through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. AB 531 would address the unacceptable levels of traffic congestion outside of the two ports by creating a dynamic gate management system, according to O’Donnell’s office.
The bill arises out of a growing concern among business, environmental and labor groups that the current gate management system, known as PierPASS, causes trucks to
wait for hours at a time to enter the ports. Despite criticism of the impact
truck wait times have on the environment and the economy, the gate system has failed to modernize. Trucks entering the ports continue to experience long delays waiting to pick up and drop off cargo. Read more >
Push renewed to ban trucks older than ’07 at NJ/NY ports
By Jill Dunn
The Coalition for Healthy Ports and key Newark, N.J. politicians want the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to reinstate a plan to prohibit trucks with engines older than 2007 by next year.
At a June 16 press conference, Mayor Ras Baraka and Council President Mildred Crump asked PANYNJ to return to its original plan to bar pre-2007 diesel engines by 2017. Last January, the port authority announced it would only ban 1994 and 1995 engines by 2018. It also would commit $1.2 million to supplement the $9 million expected in federal grants to help truck owners replace trucks. Read more >
Is Zero-Emission Freight Possible? The Port of Los Angeles Thinks So
By Katharine Gammon
In a conference room high above the 43 miles of waterways that make up the Port of Los Angeles, the view is incredible: cranes, ships and the massive Pacific Ocean. The port looks much the same from the outside as it did ten years ago, when the giant cargo ships and tens of thousands of diesel trucks spewed out nearly half the sulfur particles in the LA region.
Now, those emissions—and others—have dramatically declined at the country’s largest port. So what’s different?
“The guts inside the port are completely changed,” says Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.
From zero-emission electric trucks to ships that plug in, California has an ambitious plan to have an emission-free freight system by 2050. The efforts are already having a real effect on the health of people around southern California—and it could be a model for the rest of the country. Read more >
Air officials inspecting Fresno big rigs to curb pollution
By Reuben Contreras
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --
Nearly 1 million big rigs travel through California each year and that's why the Air Resources Board is cracking down on trucks emitting toxic fumes.
The board cited trucks Tuesday for violations that lead to more pollutants in the Central Valley's air as part of inspections that are part of a statewide effort to reduce smog.
The random inspections are part of an effort by the ARB to keep smog levels down and to make sure big rigs are keeping up with regulations.
"We're also trying to provide information to the drivers about the necessary equipment and make sure they are not purchasing illegal or illegitimate equipment that could be more costly to them and it could damage their engines as well," Eloy Flores with the California Air Resources Board. Read more >
Court rules against owner-operator emissions flexibility options for California emissions regs
By James Jaillet
A California Superior Court ruled last week to strike down several 2014-made amendments to the state’s strict emissions rules. The amendments meant to give compliance flexibility to owner-operators and other small fleet owners who may have trouble affording equipment upgrades or add-ons to bring their trucks into compliance.
The Superior Court of Fresno directed the California Air Resources Board on June 9 to void the amendments to its Truck & Bus Rule. CARB says the amendments will remain in effect, however, while it appeals the court ruling. The court decision did not affect the Truck & Bus Rule itself. Read more >
What’s at stake in Southern California’s new war on diesel truck pollution
By Steve Scauzillo
Southern California’s anti-smog regulators opened a new front on the war on heavy-duty diesel trucks by joining a coalition of agencies stretching from Washington state to New York last week.
Their goal? To lobby the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require all new trucks to emit near-zero emissions by Jan. 1, 2024, a strategy that includes wiping out the diesel engine, the standard in long-haul trucking and replacing it with compressed natural gas truck engines.
Even if such battleground rules could be approved by EPA and the courts, with help from aggressive anti-smog agencies such as the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the changeover to near-zero emission trucks would take another 20 years because of long phase-in periods, slow turnover rates and unique market forces that include out-of-state truckers hauling goods from the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach using older vehicles. Read more >
California Trucking Companies Must Comply With Clean Air Rules
By Tony Dreibus
Trucking companies will have to comply with a rule passed in 2008 that says all of their trucks must meet clean-air standards in California after the state’s superior court nullified amendments giving truckers more time to convert their vehicles.
A mandate was put in place in 2008 by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that said trucks operating in California must comply with clean air rules or be taken off the road. Many companies and owner-operators, begrudgingly, complied with the ruling at their own expense. In 2014, however, amendments to the rule were adopted that gave trucking companies flexibility in adopting the mandate passed in 2008.
The suit asking for the amendments to be negated was filed by the California Trucking Association (CTA), a Sacramento-based industry group, and trucking firm John R. Lawson Rack and Oil of Fresno. The amendments, the CTA said, put members who’d spent millions of dollars on compliance at an economic disadvantage to those who hadn’t yet complied. Read more >
GHG Rule: Explaining Phase 2
By Kevin Jones
Touted by the Obama Administration as a win-win-win for the environment, trucking industry and consumers, the proposed second round of fuel economy standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are meant to reduce climate change impact while bolstering energy security and spurring manufacturing innovation.
But nearly a year after being jointly published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Dept. of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the honeymoon between the government and the industry—if there ever was one—is certainly over.
The greenhouse gas (GHG) final rule is still up in the air, and no one is quite sure what to expect from it when it is published. Broadly, the proposed rule pits the trucking industry, which wants a cautious, doable program, against clean air groups that insist on the most aggressive of the proposal’s goals and timelines. Even within trucking, factions have developed: Engine maker Cummins supports a separate engine-only standard, and trailer makers argue that EPA has no authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate them at all. Read more >
The timeline for federal NOx emission reductions for medium and heavy-duty trucks is uncertain, but expected in California in 2017. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is expected to issue a NOx standard in 2017 that should reduce NOx emissions by up to 90 percent: the expected lower standard is 0.02 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr), a significant decrease for the current 0.2 g/bhp-hr. Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), California may issue emission standards that are more stringent than federal standards. While California is the only state with such authority, other states may adopt the more stringent emission standards promulgated by CARB.
California-only emission standards are often opposed by industry, as disparate standards across the country make compliance challenging for manufactures selling nationwide. A national emissions standard levels the playing field, and is often preferred by industry. EPA has not issued NOx standards for heavy-duty trucks since 2001; these standards took effect in 2007. Read more >
AQMD board opposes bill to add 'environmental justice' members and urges feds to clean up truck emissions
By Tony Barboza
Southern California’s air quality board has come under criticism for a political shift that critics say has made it too friendly to polluting industries. Earlier this week, the state Senate approved a bill aimed at changing the balance.
On Friday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District board pushed back with an attempt to defeat the legislation, which would add three state-appointed “environmental justice” members to its ranks. Read more >
State Senate flexes its muscle with Southern California's clean-air board
By M. Patrick McGreevy
Amid charges that polluting industries are taking over Southern California’s clean-air board, the state Senate on Tuesday approved countermeasures including an expansion of the board by three state apppointees.
Senate leader Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) introduced the bill that would expand the South Coast Air Quality Management Board from 13 to 16 members and require the board to submit to the state Air Resources Board its plans to meet federal and state air quality standards.
“As a result of deliberate efforts to weaken the board’s clean-air majority, there is not one single Latino on the board,” De Leon told his colleagues before they approved SB 1387 and sent it to the Assembly for consideration.
The new board members would be appointed by the governor, the Senate Rules Committee and Assembly speaker. Read more >
California Zero-Emissions Project Includes Diesel Plug-In Hybrid Trucks
New diesel technology will be part of a $23.6 million zero-emission transportation test program in California for emerging commercial vehicle technologies designed to reduce greenhouse gases, smog, and petroleum usage in ports and rail yards along busy freight corridors.
The California Air Resources Board awarded the $23.6 million to the South Coast Air Quality Management District to fund four vehicle and engine manufacturers testing emerging zero-emissions technology deployed on 43 harbor trucks. The participating Volvo Group project, under its Mack Trucks brand, will couple a clean diesel engine with plug-in electric and hybrid capabilities. Read more >
Sacramento, California - The 700 cows on Cace Van Steyn’s dairy farm in Elk Grove excrete about 98,000 pounds of manure and urine every day. All that waste produces methane.
The dairy is now using a flush system to collect that manure from most of the stalls and carry it to a covered lagoon where an anaerobic digester converts the gas into enough electricity to power 125 homes. Van Steyn says there are other benefits.
“This helps because it makes the manure much more manageable and easier to access and then if you add the generator part of it that helps generate some cash. It’s a win win I think,” says Van Steyn. Read more >
California’s Supply Chains Pursue “Green” Agenda with SB1338
By Patrick Burnson
Having introduced into the California State Senate a new bill designed to give an exemption from sales and use tax for port terminal operators purchasing zero or “near zero-emission” equipment, Lara is trying to advance two agendas.
Greater reliance on mechanized advances in seaport technology is being championed by California Senator Ricardo Lara and The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) an independent, not-for-profit trade association.
Having introduced into the California State Senate a new bill designed to give an exemption from sales and use tax for port terminal operators purchasing zero or “near zero-emission” equipment, Lara is trying to advance two agendas.
“California has a vision for its public ports to be both an economic lifeline for our state, supporting millions of jobs, while working on the cutting edge of environmental improvement, investing billions to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and support California’s global leadership on climate change,” says Lara.
He says that Senate Bill 1338 will accelerate these efforts by reducing the cost to install zero and near-zero emission equipment at the ports.
Read more >
State issues draft plan for freight system of the future
State agency leaders
today released the Draft California
Sustainable Freight Action Plan, an ambitious document that lays a foundation for
modernizing California’s multi-billion dollar freight transportation system.
Developed in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15, which calls
for a single integrated action plan for California, the Draft Action Plan was drafted by
the California State Transportation Agency, California Environmental Protection
Agency, Natural Resources Agency, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, California Energy Commission and Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development with broad stakeholder input.
The Executive Order directs the state agencies to pursue a shared vision to “improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies and increase the competitiveness of California’s freight system.” Benefits include meeting the state’s freight infrastructure, public health, air quality and climate goals. Read more >
New California Environmental Plan Could Transform Trucking
By Jerry Hirsch
Get ready for California environmental regulations to shake up another industry – this time it will be freight and shipping.
Look for state regulators to release a draft of California’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan later this week.
The plan aims to transform trucking and shipping in the Golden State to zero-emission technologies by 2050, said consultant Erik Neandross, chief executive of Gladstein, Neandross & Associates.
One of the milestones comes in 2030 when California wants 100,000 freight zero-emission or near-zero-emission trucks and industrial vehicles in operation. Read more >
On This Waterfront, Robot Longshoremen Are the New Contenders
By John Lippert
On one end of a dock at America’s busiest port, tractor-trailers haul containers through dense, stop-and-go traffic. Sometimes they collide. Sometimes the drivers must wait, diesel engines idling, as piles are unstacked to find the specific container they need.
A few hundred yards away, advanced algorithms select the most efficient pathway for autonomous carriers to move containers across the wharf. The four-story-high orange machines cradle their cargo, passing quietly within inches of each other, at speeds as fast as 18 miles an hour, but never touching. Self-driving cranes on tracks stack the containers and then deliver them to waiting trucks and trains with minimal human intervention.
Read more >
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- Millions of Californians live in places with dirty air, according to an annual report card issued Wednesday that ranks two major urban areas in the state as the nation's most polluted.
Bakersfield tops the list for having the most unhealthy days from airborne particles spewed by highway traffic, diesel trucks, farm equipment and fireplaces, the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2016 report says. Los Angeles remains the nation's leader in harmful ozone pollution from car tailpipes emitting smog, the report says.
Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks, lead to lung cancer and cause premature death. Read more >
Southern California's reduction in smog linked to major improvement in children's health
A study that tracked Southern California children over a 20-year period has found they now have significantly fewer respiratory symptoms as a result of improved air quality. Researchers examined a health issue that makes many parents anxious while pulling at their pocketbooks: bronchitic symptoms that could land otherwise healthy children in a doctor's office or hospital. Read more >
Group continues push for diesel particulate filter ban
By George Lurie
A Golden State truckers’ group is continuing to pressure the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to repeal a controversial regulation requiring all older buses and heavy trucks operating in the state be retrofitted with a pollution-control device known as a diesel particulate filter.
The Alliance for California Business, which filed a lawsuit against CARB over the regulation in November 2013, last month asked a Glenn County Superior Court judge to reconsider an earlier motion to dismiss the case and instead allow the lawsuit to proceed to trial.
“The Alliance is prepared to prove at trial that the diesel particulate filter (DPF), when it is working exactly as designed and intended, is mechanically unreliable, damages diesel engines and endangers California residents,” said Bud Caldwell, owner of Northgate Petroleum in Chico and president of the nonprofit Alliance. Read more >
A fleet of self-driving trucks rumbles across Europe
By Lucas Mearian
A caravan of about a dozen self-driving, semi-trailer trucks for the first time finished a trip across parts of Europe this week.
The autonomous truck challenge was organized by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and included rigs from six manufacturers, including Volvo, Daimler and Volkswagen subsidiary Scania. The convoy journeyed from manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Sweden to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
A Scania semi-trailer traveled the longest distance -- more than 2,000 miles and across four national borders. The network of authorities involved in the pilot project included federal governments, roadway authorities and consumer groups from six nations. Read more >
IdleAir Responds to Challenge of Lower Diesel Prices
With diesel prices hovering around $2 per gallon, a near 50% drop since mid-2014, the idle-reduction industry has faced a challenging economic environment, according to IdleAir in an update given at the recent Mid-America Trucking Show.
Low gas prices have reduced the benefit of using idle reduction services and technologies, but IdleAir said that it has responded by offering more value, locking in long-term electricity rates when possible, and streamlining internal operations to reduce costs.
The company has been offering discounted deals like the Rest Special, with two–day weekend and Reset stays for as low as $1.25 an hour since late 2013. In 2015, it introduced other discount bundles, including $20 for 12 hours and a bundle of 10 hours of ConvoyTV and power for $12.50 that includes WiFi.
At the fleet level, IdleAir is rolling out pre-purchase and volume discounts and is starting to tie dedicated terminal pricing to half of national DOE diesel prices. Read more >
DIAMOND BAR >> Environmental activists interrupted a four-hour meeting of the South Coast Air Quality Management District governing board Friday, accusing the district of bowing to petroleum industry interests as it voted for a new executive officer.
The protesters, dressed as clowns and representing the Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign, added to the chorus of criticism levied against the four-county air district since firing its longtime chief, Barry Wallerstein, in early March.
Wallerstein, who served on the board for 23 years, was seen by many in the environmental community as a tough-minded enforcer of air quality rules, and called his dismissal an attempt to replace him with a business-friendly administrator. Read more >
Long Beach wins lawsuit over $500 million rail yard plan for Port of Los Angeles
By Andrew Edwards, Press-Telegram
A judge’s ruling in favor of Long Beach and other litigants in a pivotal lawsuit challenging a $500 million rail-yard project at the Port of Los Angeles puts the project on an indefinite pause and may give Long Beach officials considerable leverage in negotiating greater environmental protections for any future project design.
“It certainly strengthens our hand, definitely,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said after Wednesday’s ruling was announced. “The city is now in a position where we have a court standing on our side.”
The case centered on BNSF Railways’ plan to build a 185-acre rail yard, called Southern California International Gateway, on land in the Wilmington area of Los Angeles. The project site is located near neighborhoods, schools and the Century Villages at Cabrillo veterans housing complex in West Long Beach. Los Angeles’ City Council approved the project, which is also known as SCIG, in May 2013 and several parties filed lawsuits against the project shortly thereafter.
Long Beach officials contended in their lawsuit that Los Angeles and BNSF failed to provide a complete analysis of the SCIG’s potential environmental impacts, which would have been disproportionately borne by people living in West Long Beach. Read more >
Chico >> As promised, the Alliance for California Business has asked a judge to reconsider his decision made earlier this month about an air filter that the trucking industry says is expensive and potentially dangerous.
On Monday, the Chico-based alliance filed paperwork asking Glenn County Superior Court Judge Peter Twede to reconsider the matter of the safety of diesel particulate filters, saying there was new information that was not available at the time of his ruling.
“The Alliance is prepared to prove at trial that the DPF (diesel particulate filter), when it is working exactly as designed and intended, is mechanically unreliable, damages diesel engines and endangers California residents. The Alliance will also demonstrate that the DPF violates specific state and federal laws forbidding the operation of vehicles on roads and highways that present precisely the kind of safety risk presented by the DPF requirement,” according to a press release issued Wednesday afternoon by the Chico-based alliance, which represents businesses and trucking firms throughout the state. Read more >
Port of L.A. helped pay for cleaner China Shipping vessels--which later stopped docking in L.A.
By Jack Dolan and Tony Barboza
The Port of Los Angeles paid a Chinese government-owned shipping company $5 million in 2005 to equip cargo vessels to plug into electric shore power while at dock to keep their massive diesel engines from polluting neighborhoods near the harbor.
The company, China Shipping, used the money to upgrade 17 ships, but the city didn't get all the promised environmental benefits. Most of the vessels stopped traveling to Los Angeles in 2010, a Times review of shipping industry data showed.
The ships that took their place on the Asia-to-Los Angeles route were not all equipped for shore power. From 2010 to 2013, a period in which residents were promised that virtually every vessel docked at the terminal would plug in, half left their engines running, port records show. In 2012, 88% left their engines running. Read more >
Clean Tech Firm Quantum Fuel Files Chapter 11
By Matthew Heller
The maker of alternative fuel-storage tanks for the trucking industry is seeking a buyer through the bankruptcy process.
Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies, a maker of alternative fuel-storage tanks for the trucking industry, has filed for bankruptcy protection, saying it would pursue a buyer through the Chapter 11 process.
The Lake Forest, Calif., company estimated in court papers it has $23 million in assets and about $22 million in debt to hundreds of creditors. Douglas Acquisitions, an affiliate of an existing second-position secured creditor, has agreed to provide $6 million in financing to help keep Quantum afloat while it is in bankruptcy.
“The company intends for the Chapter 11 filing to enable it to seek an acquirer” through an expeditious sale under section 363 of the U.S Bankruptcy Code, Quantum said in a news release. Read more >
EPA rejects Southern California smog-fighting program as ineffective
By Tony Barboza
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has rejected part of a smog-reduction plan by Southern California air quality regulators, saying it has failed to cut pollution from oil refineries and other big emissions sources as required by federal law.
The EPA says an emissions-trading program administered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District has been ineffective in reducing smog-forming pollutants and has allowed some of the region’s largest-emitting facilities to avoid installing pollution control equipment.
An excess of pollution credits trading at “artificially depressed” prices has resulted in a cap-and-trade program for smog-forming emissions that does not satisfy emissions control requirements under the federal Clean Air Act, according to a letter from Deborah Jordan, air division director for the U.S. EPA regional office in San Francisco.
In its decision, the EPA faulted part of a 2012 air district plan that seeks to reduce soot, or fine particle pollution, across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties through the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market, or Reclaim, program. Read more >
Air Pollution Reduction Program Ruled Illegal
By Howard Fine
A controversial program to give local refineries and major manufacturers more flexibility in reducing air pollution has been ruled illegal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, officials disclosed late Wednesday. The federal agency said the program fails to meet national clean air standards.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District in December adopted revisions to its cap-and-trade pollution credits program, known as Reclaim, involving local refineries, power plants, cement plants and other major industrial facilities. But instead of adopting a staff recommendation for faster and more broad-based reductions in the smog-forming pollutant nitrogen oxide, the district’s board chose a slower pace of reductions favored by the oil industry.
At the time, Western States Petroleum Association President Catherine Reheis-Boyd, said in a statement, “We are pleased the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Board listened carefully to the concerns of many of the participants in the RECLAIM program … Today’s decision prioritizes strong environmental protections without jeopardizing thousands of jobs and our region’s economic vitality.” Read more >
In towns with most polluted air, fear that smog fight will slow down at AQMD
by Paloma Esquivel
When Mira Loma resident Stephen Anderson drives through his community he's surrounded by warehouses. The sprawling complexes housing the world's goods sit next to schools and parks, neighborhoods and shopping centers, bringing a stream of diesel trucks that pollute the air with their exhaust.
The Riverside County community has paid a heavy price for the development, Anderson says. Mira Loma has for years suffered from some of the dirtiest air in the nation.
So Anderson and his wife were dismayed at recent moves by Southern California's air quality board that were widely viewed as efforts to weaken pollution regulations.
"It's a blow to all the progress that's been made," Anderson said. Read more >
AQMD's weaker new smog rules under attack from state and environmentalists
by Sharon McNary
State leaders and environmentalists are pushing back against the board overseeing air quality regulators for the Los Angeles basin because of its adoption of new anti-smog regulations favored by the oil industry.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District is under attack from three directions over its Dec. 4 decision to adopt weaker pollution rules preferred by the Western States Petroleum Association over a more stringent program proposed by AQMD staffers.
The California Air Resources Board responded to that decision with a critical letter telling the AQMD board that its decision did not meet the requirements of state or federal law. A CARB representative told KPCC on Wednesday that the agency doesn't plan to sue in the short-term, but it could take administrative actions in the future if a series of discussions with AQMD officials and the board about the changes don't bring the results it wants. Read more >
Push to Cut Diesel Exhaust Emissions Is Far From Over for Heavy-duty Trucks
by Curt Bennink
On-road diesel engine emissions regulations have been around since the early 1970s, but these standards were achieved with in-cylinder solutions that did not require extensive technological innovations. That changed when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set on a path to dramatically reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) almost two decades ago.
In October 1997, EPA adopted new emissions standards for model year 2004 and later heavy-duty diesel truck and bus engines. The goal was to reduce NOx emissions from on-road heavy-duty engines to levels of approximately 2.0 g/bhp-hr beginning in 2004. Since then, emissions limits have been cut to 0.01 g/bhp-hr for PM and 0.20 g/bhp-hr for NOx. Read more >
Opinion - Partisan politics on air pollution are helping to make L.A. smoggy again
By The Times Editorial Board
Last Friday was a bad day for clean air. First, the board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District voted to fire its longtime executive officer. Then, it reconfirmed its support for a plan to let oil refiners, power plants and other major polluters keep spewing emissions.
The two votes weren't exactly a surprise. The AQMD, which regulates air quality for 17 million people here in the nation's smoggiest region, is governed by a 13-member board comprised of elected officials and appointees from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. New appointees to the board — whose arrival in February gave Republicans a majority on the panel — had pledged to reduce environmental regulations. And the executive officer, Barry Wallerstein, had pushed for strong pollution controls against the wishes of the oil industry and other business groups.
Read more >
Southern California air board moves to weaken pollution regulation
by Tony Barboza
Southern California's air quality board moved forcefully to weaken pollution regulation Friday, firing the agency's longtime leader and reaffirming new smog rules backed by oil refineries and other major polluters.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District board dismissed Barry Wallerstein in a 7-6 vote during a closed-door session, a month after Republicans took control of the panel vowing a friendlier approach to industry.
Wallerstein, 62, was appointed executive officer in 1997 and presided over the agency charged with protecting the health of 17 million people in the nation's smoggiest region. During his tenure, pollution diminished sharply across the region, but remains far from meeting federal health standards. Read more >
Southern California smog regulator may be forced out amid shift on air board
by Tony Barboza
Southern California's air quality board is moving to replace its top executive a month after Republicans gained a majority on the panel with new appointees who have vowed to make pollution regulations less burdensome for businesses.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District gave notice in an agenda item posted Tuesday that its governing board will hold a closed-door session to evaluate the performance of longtime Executive Officer Barry Wallerstein and consider his resignation, dismissal or other personnel actions.
The appointment of an acting director to replace Wallerstein might also be considered at the session, which will take place at the air board's monthly meeting Friday in Diamond Bar.
The potential departure of Wallerstein, who has worked for more than three decades at the nation's most powerful regional smog-fighting agency, comes after a campaign to shift its governing board toward regulation that is friendlier to industry. Read more >
Air quality regulator files second lawsuit against Moreno Valley logistics project
By Jim Steinberg
MORENO VALLEY >> Southern California air quality regulators have filed a second lawsuit against the city of Moreno Valley in an effort to keep a massive warehouse development from happening as approved.
Last summer, Moreno Valley City Council approved the development of the World Logistics Center, believed to be one of the world’s largest warehouse projects ever proposed.
The project involves a space greater than 700 football fields and would create “significant air quality impacts in an area that doesn’t meet federal air quality standards,” said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the Diamond Bar-based South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The lawsuit asks the court to order Moreno Valley to rescind its adoption of two initiatives designed to evade legal challenges to the project under the California Environmental Quality Act.
The suit also asks the court to stop the city from approving any permits or other actions allowing the project to proceed.
Numerous other lawsuits have been filed against the project, including those by the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Riverside County Transportation Commission and Riverside County. All of the lawsuits are in Riverside Superior Court.
“The lawsuits by the SCAQMD and out of town special interests have no merit, and we fully expect the courts to dismiss these baseless lawsuits,” said Eric W. Rose, a spokesman for Moreno Valley-based Highland Fairview, the developer of the WLC. Read more >
Air Pollution Claims 5.5 Million Lives a Year, Making It the Fourth-Leading Cause of Death Worldwide
By Christina Procopiou
You probably don’t think of air pollution as a factor that affects how long you will live. It’s actually the fourth greatest risk of death, though, right after high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. More people die from air pollution than die from alcohol and drug abuse, or unsafe sex. New research from the Global Burden of Disease Study shows that every year 5.5 million people across the world die from diseases—such as cardiovascular disease and stroke—related to air pollution, making it the leading environmental cause of disease by far.
More than 85 percent of the world's population now lives in areas where the World Health Organization Air Quality Guideline is exceeded. Power plants, industrial manufacturing, vehicle exhaust and burning coal and wood all release small particles into the air that are dangerous to a person's health. Indoor and outdoor air pollution in two countries, India and China, account for 55 percent, or 3 million, of those 5.5 million deaths. The study also found that more such deaths are expected over the next two decades unless stricter limits on carbon emissions are imposed. Read more >
The EPA's Crackdown On Race Cars, Explained
By Patrick George
Will a proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency really hinder your plans to turn your daily driver into a badass track-only machine? It will, officials from aftermarket trade association SEMA and the EPA itself confirmed to Jalopnik today. Here’s what all of this means.
Last night SEMA announced a pending EPA rule that, in the interest of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, would “prohibit conversion of vehicles originally designed for on-road use into racecars” and “make the sale of certain products for use on such vehicles illegal,” in their words.
Naturally, this sparked a wildfire of controversy in the tuning and racing communities. Suddenly the ability to participate in grassroots racing series like LeMons, Spec E30, AER and more seemed in doubt. But it wasn’t immediately clear, in the pages and pages of regulations and proposed red tape, what the rule change really meant. Read more >
Survey: California the worst for trucking industry
By Rene Ray De La Cruz
HESPERIA — While many economic experts say the trucking industry is thriving across the nation, one survey reports that California is the worst state to be in the business.
Merchant Cash USA, an alternative finance business lender, surveyed individuals involved in the trucking industry to put together its "Best and Worst States for Trucking Industry in 2016" report. It found there are 500,000 for-hire fleets on the road today, but many trucking firms and independent operators are struggling in the Golden State.
Although the industry made a record $700 billion last year, many smaller trucking firms in California are plagued by new government regulations, rising equipment costs, the hiring of new drivers, limiting driving hours and competition to raise pay.
J.B. Hunt Transport Regional Operational Manager Scott Chatten said he agrees with the report, adding that California Air Resources Board regulations have hurt the industry. Read more >
Hub Group Drops Port Trucking Operation, Cites Driver Costs
By Erica E. Phillips
LOS ANGELES— Hub Group Trucking has closed its Southern California terminal serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach just over a year after converting its local fleet from independently-contracted drivers to full-time employees.
In an emailed announcement to customers last week, Hub Group Inc. Chief Executive David Yeager said the company will now employ “a core group of high-service outside carriers” to bring container loads from the ports to nearby warehouses and rail yards, a service known as drayage. Read more >
The Environmental Impact of Long-Haul Trucking
by Jesse Hirsch
When Mike Roeth sees pictures of tractor-trailer trucks from over a decade ago, he has a visceral reaction, a kind of shudder meets a wince.
“I see those old trucks hauling down the highway, belching black smoke—it’s not real pleasant,” says Roeth, director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency.
There’s a popular conception of the diesel semi—the only big truck for many decades—as a monster of the road, ripping down the highway at reckless speeds, guzzling gas with abandon, leaving a toxic trail of exhaust. It’s something of a pop culture parable, thanks to Smokey and the Bandit, Maximum Overdrive, and the rest of our trucking lore. But this mythology has its roots in reality. Not so long ago, semis were grimier, drivers more aggressive, regulations laxer. Read more >
A Look at the California-Compliant Trailer
by Jim Park
The California-compliant trailer has proven to be a fairly benign creature. There was some gnashing of teeth back in 2009 when the California Air Resources Board announced that most 53-foot box trailers domiciled and operating there would have to meet a set of requirements intended to minimize the amount of fuel needed to pull the things. The hue and cry soon died down as fleets realized that the regulation would actually save them money.
Joe Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs and communications for the Western States Trucking Association, says his group took a wait-and-see approach before condemning the rule outright.
“We looked at it and felt that it was largely unnecessary, but that compliance with the rule would produce cost savings,” he says. “Sure enough, most of the complaints died down soon enough.” Read more >
The Environmental Protection Agency is pressuring a major U.S. port facility to keep strict emissions standards in place.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey rolled out a plan mid-January to spend $1.2 million of port money and $9 million in federal funds to replace trucks – a reduction from previous versions of its Truck Replacement Program. New York/New Jersey ports also decided not to ban pre-2007 model year diesel trucks from entering the ports by January 2017 as it had previously planned.
The ports of New York and New Jersey have set a goal that all trucks serving the ports be equipped with 2007 or newer model year engines. About 6,300 trucks serving port terminals have model year engines built between 1994 and 2006. They’d cost an estimated $150 million to replace.
An estimated 70 percent of trucks that serve the ports are pre-2007 model year.
The EPA is not happy with the revised plan.
In a letter to Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, the federal agency reportedly said it was disappointed.
“Your decision to reverse course on replacing older polluting trucks is especially disappointing given that in the past few years the terminals in Newark and Elizabeth have seen a significant rise in congestion and long lines at the gates,” EPA wrote, according to The Wall Street Journal. “It is becoming a common occurrence, hurting the terminals, the truckers and the communities.” Read more >
California to test taxing drivers by the mile
By Keith Laing
Some drivers in California will soon pay taxes based on how many miles they travel, instead of how many gallons of gas they buy, The Associated Press reports.
The plan, known in transportation circles as Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), has faced opposition in Washington, where it has been floated as alternative to the 18.4 cents per gallon gas tax that is currently used to pay for infrastructure projects.
California is moving ahead with a pilot program that will involve 5,000 drivers who will volunteer to track their mileage via one of five manual and automated means, according to the report.
State officials have stressed that participants in the mileage fee pilot program will not be forced to install GPS trackers on their cars.
"Participants do not need to purchase or install any new technology to be part of the pilot, and many can use existing technology such as smartphones and their vehicle odometer," the California Department of Transportation says in a frequently asked questions section of its Road Charge website. Read more >
Electric Trucks Will Be Environmental Game Changer (When Perfected)
Electric cars are becoming more common on the roads, but when it comes to trucks and large freight vehicles, they still seem to be far away from being replaced by electric trucks. This however will probably be only true for a short while longer as automotive technology. Ian Wright, who is a co-founder of Tesla, claims that commercial trucks are the real market for electric vehicles, not cars. We already have electric truck concepts which are working, and there are other ways as well in which the fleets are being turned into electric-powered vehicles.
Battery Issues Holding Electric Trucks Back
There are some issues which have kept electric trucks and cars off the market. One problem is that it is rather hard for the batteries to store all the power needed to travel any sort of distance, though this is changing fast as our battery technology is improving.
Batteries will probably become much cheaper and better as Tesla’s commitment to open a multi-billion dollar battery production factory for which they already have the funding for gathers steam. When batteries are cheap and efficient enough, one part of the problem will be solved. There is also an issue with the charging stations required to charge these vehicles, as they are not common. This is a bigger problem for personal vehicles than it is for commercial vehicles. Read more >
Anti-pollution deal may be tough to enforce
By James Bruggers
The JBS pork processing plant in Butchertown stepped out in front by agreeing to make sure all trucks using its large parking lot be equipped with California-compliant refrigeration units that limit soot and other toxic exhaust from burning diesel fuel.
State and local authorities have said they don't know of any other parking lot in Kentucky with such a requirement, which is scheduled to take effect in 18 months.
But just what does California-compliant mean when it comes to what are called transportation refrigeration units, and how will Louisville Metro government officials make sure the company lives up to its promise?
Compliance generally means that only refrigeration units that are seven years old or younger will be allowed, according to a California Air Resources Board spokeswoman. Units older than that would need to be equipped with particulate filters or other pollution reduction measures. Read more >
California: New air-pollution rule doesn't do enough
By AARON ORLOWSKI
A recent Southern California emissions reduction rule might not pass legal muster because it doesn’t do enough to curb pollution, California air quality regulators warned in a letter to the South Coast Air Quality Management District this week.
The amended rule, which was approved 7-5 by the air district board in December, mandates that Southern California’s biggest stationary polluters, power plants and refineries reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 12 tons per year. That was less than the 14-ton emissions reduction that district staff urged board members to adopt.
The California Air Resources Board must approve the air district’s rule change and on Thursday sent the district a letter saying that “the amendments do not appear to meet the minimum emissions control requirements in California law” for those sources.
“This action will negatively affect the health of people living in the region,” the letter adds.
Nitrogen oxides, when released into the atmosphere, contribute to particulate pollution and ozone, which aggravates heart and lung conditions and is a hallmark of smog. Currently, the South Coast air district – a region that includes Orange County and the urbanized areas of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties – is out of compliance with federal ozone standards.
The decision to reduce nitrogen oxides by 12 tons rather than 14 was contentious. Read more >
Manufacturers, businesses sue over ozone rule
By Devin Henry
The industry groups most critical of new smog rules from the Obama administration are suing over those standards.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed lawsuits against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) limits on surface level ozone on Wednesday.
In a statement announcing the lawsuit, NAM reiterated its long-held arguments against the rule, calling it costly to implement and saying it threatens jobs in industrial sectors.
“The EPA’s ozone regulation, which could be one of the most expensive in history, is unworkable and overly burdensome for manufacturers and America’s job creators," said Linda Kelly, NAM's senior vice president and general counsel. "Manufacturers across the United States need regulations that provide balance and allow us to be globally competitive."
The Chamber also said the rule threatens jobs. Read more >
Since he burst on the national political scene when first elected California governor in 1974, Jerry Brown has been a combination ascetic, budget hawk, bureaucrat and visionary. Contradictions still are part of the package as he looks toward his final two years in his second stint heading the state.
“We don’t even know how far we’ve gone, or if we’ve gone over the edge,” he warned at a July climate conference at the Vatican. “We are talking about extinction.”
That reminds me of the late Yogi Berra’s remark about a popular restaurant, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” For Brown, there are so many people spewing out so much heat, we’re all gonna die.
That’s similar to his rhetoric in 1970s about an “era of limits.” Construction of new infrastructure projects was limited, part of the reason the state now has crumbling roads and needs to build new dams and reservoirs. Read more >
China’s top negotiator at the United Nations summit on climate change practically gushed as he described his country’s relationship with California.
During a speech Monday, Xie Zhenhua described Gov. Jerry Brown as an “old friend” whose administration has provided green wisdom from across the Pacific.
“For that,” he said to Brown, “I give tribute to you.”
It was a ceremonial reminder of the unglamorous work occurring behind the scenes between China and California, and a glimpse of how the state wants to play a key role in stemming global warming.
Although California lacks a formal seat at the negotiating table while countries seek an international accord, the state has something many places do not — a track record of ambitious environmental programs that could be imitated around the world.
Politicians have spent years trying to position California as a trailblazer on climate change, even writing into law that the state should take a “global leadership role.” That effort is taking on increased urgency as countries pledge new limits on greenhouse gas emissions and explore concrete steps to meet their targets. Read more >
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — More than half of Californians view climate change as a very serious problem facing the state, a higher rate than their counterparts nationwide, and a majority support the state's efforts to curb emissions, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The poll by the Public Policy Institute of California comes as thousands of officials gather in Paris for the U.N. Climate Change conference. They include Gov. Jerry Brown, who will promote the state's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and urge other states and provinces to sign on to his nonbinding pact pledging to reduce carbon emissions.
In the poll, 57 percent of adults rated global climate change as a very serious problem. Another 23 percent said it is a somewhat serious problem, while 18 percent called it not too serious or not a problem.
Californians also appear to have bought into messaging from Brown and fellow Democrats who say efforts to address climate change by curbing emissions, making buildings more energy efficient and reducing oil will not hurt the state's economy: 45 percent believe the state's efforts will lead to more jobs. About a quarter said there would be no effect on jobs and about two in 10 said the state would lose jobs.
"Californians are taking global climate change very seriously and seem to be unmoved by the arguments about the negative impact of state actions on jobs," PPIC President and CEO Mark Baldassare said.
In a spring poll by the Pew Research Center, 45 percent of Americans rated global climate change as a serious problem. Read more >
Orland >> A Glenn County Superior Court date for the further discussion of diesel particulate filters and driver safety has been moved back a week.
In September, Glenn County Superior Court Judge Peter Twede set Dec. 4 as the date for a hearing between the Chico-based Alliance for California Business and the California Air Resources Board over the filters.
That date has been changed to 1 p.m. Dec. 11 but still in Orland at the Glenn County Courthouse, 821 E. South St.
The hearing was to give both sides a chance to comment on the existence of “an exemption” for the state-required filters on older diesel trucks.
At the September hearing, the attorney for the Alliance for California Business indicated some truck drivers were concerned about installing the mandated filters because of safety issues, fearful their trucks could catch fire.
It’s also a public safety problem, argues the alliance, which believes that some truck fires in California have been related to the filters. Read more >
E.P.A. Rule Requires a Big Jump in Biofuel Use
By DIANE CARDWELL
The Environmental Protection Agency released its much-delayed biofuel mandate on Monday, raising the amounts of biofuel that refiners are required to blend into conventional vehicle fuel from levels proposed in May.
The agency set levels for 2014 and 2015 at what producers actually used in those years, and it increased the total volume of renewable fuel required by the end of 2016 to 18.11 billion gallons, an 11 percent increase from 2014, the agency said.
“The biofuel industry is an incredible American success story, and the R.F.S. program has been an important driver of that success — cutting carbon pollution, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and sparking rural economic development,” Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for E.P.A.’s Office of Air and Radiation, said in a conference call with reporters. “With today’s final rule, and as Congress intended, E.P.A. is establishing volumes that grow the amount of biofuel in the market over time.” Read more >
California Climate and Health, Part I: Drought Stirs Up Trouble for State’s Air Quality
By Cameron Scott
The policies that made California a model of how big, developed economies can thrive while safeguarding the environment did not originate in some statewide sense of kumbaya.
They were a desperate response to serious air quality problems in Los Angeles, Bakersfield, and Fresno.
Bad air is a serious drag on public health, driving up rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, and death.
California’s efforts to rein in pollution — by requiring smog tests for all cars and trucks and mandating that utilities generate a significant fraction of the power they sell from renewable sources — have delivered decades of improvements in ozone and particulate matter pollution.
But the severe drought the state has weathered the past three years threatens to roll back those gains. Read more >
National Parks Fail EPA Ozone Mandates
By Tori Richards
The EPA's newest ozone pollution threshold has placed 26 national parks at non-compliant levels. But while the rest of the nation's communities must spend billions conforming to the new normal, the parks – including such gems as Sequoia and Rocky Mountain – may be off the hook. The National Park Service blames power plants for much of the problem. But scientists and officials from California say that car emissions – and the tourism that brings $15.7 billion per year to the parks -- are mostly to blame.
"Usually ozone pollution is caused by traffic rather than power plants," said Dr. Saewung Kim, an assistant professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. "Power plants have done a great job cleaning up their emissions and ozone-causing pollutants." Read more >
Dr. Praveen Buddiga knew he would find a packed waiting room when he arrived at his office that warm September day in California’s Central Valley. White flakes drifted from the sky, as if he were inside a snow globe.
The Rough Fire, a 152,000-acre blaze sparked by lightning in the Sequoia National Forest, was lofting thick smoke, soot, and ash into the air—and into the lungs of Buddiga’s patients 35 miles away, in Fresno.
As an allergist, Buddiga knows that wildfires pose a serious, sometimes lethal, threat to people’s health, particularly for those with asthma or heart disease.
“Older [patients] made the universal choking sign—you know, hands around the throat,” Buddiga says. “Younger ones just pointed to their chests. The Rough Fire was devastating for us.” Read more >
Court presses OOIDA on ‘unconstitutionality’ of Calif. emissions regs during oral arguments
By James Jaillet
The court overseeing the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s lawsuit against California and its stringent emissions regulations heard oral arguments last week in the case, and, per one report, OOIDA faced tough questions about its suit and the evidence used to support it.
Court documents show the Oct. 22 proceedings occurred, but offer no details on what was said. B2B legal journal Law 360, however, reports a three-judge panel “grilled” the owner-operator advocacy group and its complaint against California’s regulations.
The judges questioned both the jurisdiction of OOIDA’s suit and the court precedents OOIDA’s attorneys are using to backup their claims.
OOIDA’s suit, however, continues its run in court despite being dismissed in court twice in the previous 12 months.
OOIDA originally brought the suit in December 2013, claiming the California Air Resources Board’s Truck & Bus regulation violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause. The suit was dismissed in November 2014, but OOIDA was able to revive the case shortly after when one of the owner-operator plaintiffs in the case received a citation for not complying with the state’s emissions regulations. Read more >
The EPA's 'Climate Change Liberation Army'
By Adam Andrzejewski
Why does the EPA need a $715 million police force, a $170 million PR Machine, a nearly $1 billion employment agency for seniors, and a $1.2 billion in-house law firm?
During last week’s Democratic presidential primary debate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said the most important adversary of the United States was “climate change.” The EPA is ready for the fight in ways taxpayers haven’t imagined.
Recently, our organization, American Transparency, published our OpenTheBooks Oversight Report – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We captured and analyzed $110 billion worth of EPA contracts (FY2000-2014), grants (FY2000-2014), salaries (FY2007-2014) and bonuses (FY2000-2014). Read more >
16 ATA Member Fleets Named EPA SmartWay Excellence Award Winners
By Trucking News Staff
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) this week congratulated the 39 winners of the EPA SmartWay Excellence Awards – particularly the 16 members of ATA who were honored here at the ATA Management Conference & Exhibition.
“For more than a decade, SmartWay has been a model of cooperation between industry and government to tackle a serious issue,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “It is our hope that SmartWay will continue to offer a road map to continued reductions in fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions and I congratulate all the fleets who have already shown tremendous leadership in this arena.”
“EPA is pleased to honor these SmartWay Partners with a 2015 Excellence Award,” said Chris Grundler, director of the EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “SmartWay carriers work diligently to bring our families the goods we need each day, while contributing to a healthier, more sustainable future for our children.” Read more >
Port of Los Angeles has failed to meet pollution-cutting measures
By Tony Barboza
The Port of Los Angeles has failed to carry out vital pollution-reduction measures it agreed to make after a legal settlement more than a decade ago, according to a document released by the port.
In an environmental notice, the port revealed it has not completed 11 of 52 measures it agreed to impose to reduce air pollution, noise and traffic when it allowed the expansion of the China Shipping terminal.
Among the steps not taken are requirements that all ships slow as they approach the port and shut down their diesel engines and plug in to onshore electricity when docked to reduce harmful emissions. Also not met were mandates that trucks and yard tractors be fueled by less-polluting natural gas and other alternative fuels. Read more >
Cutting ozone will require radical transformation of California's trucking industry
By Tony Barboza
At a laboratory in downtown Los Angeles, a big rig spins its wheels on massive rollers as a metal tube funnels its exhaust into an array of air quality sensors. Engineers track the roaring truck's emissions from a bank of computer screens.
The brand-new diesel truck is among the cleanest on the road, the engineers at the California Air Resources Board testing lab say. Even so, its 550-horsepower engine spews out more than 20 times the smog-forming nitrogen oxides of a typical gasoline-powered car — and that won't be good enough for the state to meet stricter federal smog limits adopted this month.
Cutting ozone, the lung-damaging gas in smog, to federal health standards while meeting state targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions will require a radical transformation of California's transportation sector over the next two decades, air quality officials and experts say.
Millions of new electric cars must replace gasoline-powered models. Buses will have to run on hydrogen fuel cells. New technologies and cleaner fuels need to proliferate quickly to slash pollution from trucks, cargo ships and trains. Read more >
U.S. EPA holds trucking company accountable for failure to
install emissions controls on its California fleet
By Karen Caesar, CARB
SAN FRANCISCO—Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
announced that Estes Express Lines will pay a $100,000 penalty
for violations of the California Truck and Bus Regulation, for
failing to install particulate filters on 73 of its heavy-duty
diesel trucks (15% of its California fleet).
In California, mobile sources of diesel emissions, such as trucks
and construction equipment, are one of the largest sources of
fine particulates. About 625,000 trucks operating in California
are registered outside of the state, many are older models
emitting particulates and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The California
truck rules are the first of their kind in the nation and will
prevent an estimated 3,500 deaths in California between 2010 –
The California Truck and Bus Regulation was adopted into federal
Clean Air Act plan requirements in 2012 and apply to
privately-owned diesel trucks and buses. The rule also requires
any trucking company to ensure their subcontractors are only
using compliant trucks, and requires companies to upgrade their
vehicles to meet specific NOx and PM2.5 performance standards in
California. Heavy-duty diesel trucks in California must meet 2010
engine emissions levels or use diesel particulate filters, which
can reduce the emissions of diesel particulate into the
atmosphere by 85% or more.
“Trucks represent one of the largest sources of air pollution in
California, and the state has the worst air quality in the
nation,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for
the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s enforcement efforts are aimed at
ensuring all truck fleets operating in California are in
compliance with pollution laws.”
“ARB’s partnership to enforce our clean truck and bus regulation
with our partners at EPA is vitally important to us,” said ARB
Chair Mary D. Nichols. “It helps bring vehicles that are
operating illegally into compliance, and levels the playing field
for those who have already met the requirements.”
In addition to the penalty, Estes will spend $290,400 towards
projects to educate the out-of-state trucking industry on the
regulation and for replacing old wood burning devices in the San
Joaquin Valley. Estes will pay $35,000 to the University of
California Davis Extension to implement a state-approved training
program for out-of-state trucking firms on compliance with the
rule. Estes will also pay $255,400 to the San Joaquin Valley Air
Pollution Control District’s Burn Cleaner Incentive Program that
will be used to replace 80 or more wood-burning devices with
Estes is a large, private, for-hire trucking firm based in
Virginia that owns and operates diesel-fueled vehicles in all 50
states. In February 2015, EPA issued a Notice of Violation to
Estes after EPA’s investigation found that the company failed to
equip its heavy-duty diesel vehicles with particulate filters and
failed to verify compliance with the Truck and Bus Regulation for
its hired motor carriers. Estes now operates only new trucks in
Fine particle pollution can be emitted directly or formed
secondarily in the atmosphere and can penetrate deep into the
lungs and worsen conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Read more >
UC Berkeley scientists measure diesel truck emissions in Caldecott Tunnel
By Charles Fisher
A team of campus researchers is measuring the relative levels of diesel truck emissions passing through Berkeley’s Caldecott Tunnel in an effort to determine the effectiveness of California’s new emissions requirements.
The researchers, a group of scientists from the campus’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have been using a set of cameras, monitors and a research van to gather data that describe the amounts of relative gases and diesel particulate matter emitted by the large trucks.
“We bring a bunch of air pollution analyzers we have in a research van,” said Thomas Kirchstetter, principal investigator for the project, who is also a scientist at the lab and an associate adjunct professor at UC Berkeley. “It’s a mobile laboratory.” Read more >
CWI ISL G Near Zero natural gas engine certified to near zero NOx; 90% below current standard
By Green Car Congress
Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) announced that its new ISL G Near Zero (NZ) natural gas engine is the first mid-range engine in North America to receive emission certifications from both US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Air Resources Board (ARB) in California that meet the 0.02 g/bhp-hr optional Near Zero NOx Emissions standards for medium-duty truck, urban bus, school bus and refuse applications.
Cummins Westport ISL G NZ exhaust emissions will be 90% lower than the current EPA NOx limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr and also meet the 2017 EPA greenhouse gas emission requirements. CWI natural gas engines have met the 2010 EPA standard for particulate matter (0.01 g/bhp-hr) since 2001.
Performance and efficiency will match the current ISL G, with engine ratings from 250-320 horsepower, and 660-1,000 lb-ft torque available. Base warranty, extended coverage options, maintenance procedures and service intervals are also the same as the current ISL G. The new engine has similar emission control systems (throttle body injection, TWC, EGR, etc.) as the current 0.20 g/bhp-hr NOx ISL G. Read more >
California supports U.S. EPA action to strengthen national ozone standard
Just-released ARB strategy to control pollution from cars and trucks puts California on trajectory to meet new standard
SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board supports the U.S. EPA’s decision today to strengthen the national ambient air quality standard for ground-level ozone pollution, bringing the national standard more in line with California’s 10-year-old standard.
Strengthening the standard provides health, environmental and economic benefits for all of California. Science demonstrates that adverse health impacts continue to occur with the previous 8-hour average ozone standard level of 75 parts per billion. The U.S. EPA has now lowered the level of the standard to 70 ppb, making it more health protective.
“We support using the most up-to-date science and recognize that even as the new ozone standard gets tougher to attain California will continue to make progress by employing cleaner technology and fuels,” ARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said. “The new standard will mean a reduction in premature mortality, hospitalizations, emergency room visits for asthma, and lost work and school days. This is especially critical in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley, where nearly two-thirds of our state’s residents live, including large numbers of people who work outside and who have asthma and other chronic heart and lung diseases.”
ARB’s control programs, together with efforts to reduce air pollution at the local and federal levels, have achieved tremendous success in reducing emissions and providing continued improvement in air quality. The South Coast and San Joaquin Valley are the nation’s only two air basins designated ‘extreme’ nonattainment.
Further reductions are needed to meet the new standard -- and California’s air quality and climate goals. With a standard of 70 ppb, several rural counties likely will fall out of attainment, adding to the state’s existing 16 ozone nonattainment areas. New nonattainment areas are expected to include Amador, Tehama and Tuolumne counties and the Sutter Buttes area.
One of several goals California must meet are the existing ambient ozone air quality standards in 2023 and 2031, which will require an estimated 80 percent reduction in oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions below current emission levels in the South Coast air basin, with substantial reductions needed in the San Joaquin Valley and other nonattainment areas of the state.
New draft strategy released
In a just-released discussion draft of the State’s strategy for its cars and trucks to meet federal air quality standards, the ARB outlines a proposed strategy that continues to build on previous efforts to meet critical air quality and climate goals over the next 15 years. Released Wednesday, the strategy provides a comprehensive foundation for the ongoing transformation of the state’s vehicle fleet putting California on a path to likely meet the new more health-protective federal ozone standard.
The draft strategy (Discussion Draft Mobile Source Strategy) is designed to provide public health protection for the millions of Californians who still breathe unhealthy air and to help California do its part to slow global warming and reduce its dependence on petroleum. In part, the proposed strategy would:
• Establish requirements for cleaner technologies;
• Ensure in-use performance over the lifetime of the vehicle;
• Increase the penetration of zero-emission technologies for cars, trucks and off-road equipment;
• Require cleaner-burning renewable fuels;
• Enhance efficiencies in moving people and freight throughout California; and
• Transform the state’s vehicle fleet using zero- and near-zero-emission technologies in order to help meet California’s air quality and climate change goals.
National low-NOx standard urged
Reducing emissions from heavy-duty trucks – significant contributors to emissions that form ozone -- is an important element of the mobile source strategy. ARB, therefore, urges U.S. EPA to adopt tighter national NOx emissions standards for on-road heavy-duty engines (fueled by either diesel or CNG). NOx, a product of incomplete combustion, contributes to the formation of not only ozone but also fine particle pollution (PM2.5), a serious health threat in California.
ARB will develop new heavy-duty diesel engine emissions standards within the next several years, while simultaneously petitioning U.S. EPA to establish a corresponding national standard, in order to maximize emission reductions from all vehicles operating in California, regardless of whether they were purchased in a different state.
Vehicles purchased outside of California account for one-third of the heavy-duty vehicle miles traveled in the state on any given day. For that reason, a lower NOx standard that reduces emissions from all trucks operating in California is critical to meeting future air quality goals and tackling this public health challenge.
For more information on the new National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone, an ARB fact sheet is available here.
Deadly Diesel Emissions Plummeting in California
Amidst the bad publicity coming from Volkswagen's engineered fraud on diesel emissions testing comes good news from California Air Resources Board: The cancer risk from airborne toxins, most of which come from burning diesel fuel, dropped 76 percent.
"An Air Resources Board study, published (Sept. 21) in the prestigious scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology, shows that the cancer risk from exposure to the state’s most significant air toxics declined 76 percent over a 23-year period in California, a direct result of regulations targeting unhealthful emissions from these air pollutants," writes Melanie Turner for the ARB. Read more >
EPA talks Phase II rollout at TMC
It’s been a little more than three months since the EPA and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) introduced its joint proposed Phase II GHG and fuel economy regulations.
Since then, the trucking industry has been aggressively hunting for more information about the proposed rule.
On that note, Tuesday was a step forward.
During a technical session Tuesday at the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC) Fall Meeting in Orlando, EPA Representative Matt Spears spoke in detail on how Phase II was written and how the EPA plans to introduce its new regulations in the industry, beginning in 2018. Read more >
Orland >> A Glenn County Superior Court judge has given a California trucking and business group another month in its case against the California Air Resources Board and diesel particulate filters.
Judge Peter Twede on Friday gave the Alliance for California Business 30 days to file a brief in regards to an exemption CARB says truckers have in regards to the filter.
A state attorney said Friday in court that truckers can file for an exemption if they believe the diesel particulate filter required by the state on older vehicles would cause unsafe conditions in their truck.
While the state attorney said the exemption is well known, alliance attorney Therese Cannata said the alliance has never heard of this exemption. Read more >
Study links California regulations, dramatic declines in cancer risk from exposure to air toxics
By California Air Resources Board
SACRAMENTO - An Air Resources Board study, published today in the prestigious scientific journal “Environmental Science & Technology,” shows that the cancer risk from exposure to the state’s most significant air toxics declined 76 percent over a 23-year period in California, a direct result of regulations targeting unhealthful emissions from these air pollutants.
The study quantifies emission trends for the period from 1990 through 2012 for seven toxic air contaminants (TACs) that are responsible for most of the known cancer risk associated with airborne exposure in California.
“These impressive reductions in California’s most hazardous toxic contaminants in our air took place against a backdrop of more than two decades of steady growth in California, with a growing population, and increasing numbers of cars and trucks that used ever larger quantities of gas and diesel,” Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols said. “There is no way these improvements in public health would have occurred without a strong, well designed program to reduce public exposure to toxic air pollution.” Read more >
A legal action seeking to halt California’s enforcement of its diesel particulate filter regulation could come to a head as soon as Friday, Sept. 18.
Glenn County, Calif., Superior Court Judge Peter Twede is scheduled to hear a motion by the California Air Resources Board to dismiss a legal action brought by a trucking industry veteran and his organization.
The hearing will begin at 1 p.m., and will likely include an audience of interested truckers.
Plaintiffs in the case, the Alliance for California Business, believe DPFs have been the cause of 31 fires or more in the last 18 months, including several in CARB’s drought-worn home state.
The organization is seeking an injunction against the Truck and Bus Rule to prevent its enforcement by CARB. The lawsuit questions the safety of technology used to meet California’s Truck and Bus Rule – a multibillion-dollar rule that has banned trucks with pre-2007 model year engines and required DPFs on virtually all trucks hauling freight in the Golden State. Read more >
There's a Simpler Way to Fight Climate Change, California
By Editorial Board
Say this for California's landmark bill to reduce carbon emissions: It doesn't lack for ambition. At the same time, it shows the pitfalls of relying too much on regulators instead of the market.
The original bill would have set in law three extraordinary targets for 2030: Get half the state's power from renewable sources, double the savings from energy efficiency in California buildings, and cut the amount of gasoline used by half. The state's goal is to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050, compared with 1990 levels.
The oil industry lobbied furiously against the mandate to cut fuel use, arguing that it would force the board to ration gasoline or even ban certain types of cars. That argument proved successful: Governor Jerry Brown and Democrats in the state senate said last week they would leave the requirement for cutting gas consumption out of the bill. Read more >
Port of Oakland Opening Gates on Saturday to Reduce Truck Congestion
By: Trucking News Staff
The four international marine container terminals at the Port of Oakland are developing a program to operate terminal gates on Saturdays to reduce weekday congestion at the port. The new program, called OakPass, is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, pending review by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and other conditions.
The terminals have submitted a filing to the FMC describing the proposed program. The terminals are currently working to ensure that an adequate supply of labor will be available to operate the new gates. OAKMTOA has established OakPass LLC, a not-for-profit company, to manage the Saturday gate program.
“The Port of Oakland and the four international container terminals agree on the need for additional capacity to reduce congestion and accommodate future volume growth,” said John Cushing, president of OakPass. “After spending well over a year evaluating options including night gates, we determined that adding a Saturday gate is the most practical and cost-effective method to increase capacity in a way that meshes with availability of truck drivers and longshore workers and serves the entire supply chain.”
To help pay for the cost of the new gates, the terminals will begin collecting an Extended Gate Fee (EGF) of $17 per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU), or $34 on a typical 40-foot container. The EGF will be assessed on loaded import and export containers entering or exiting the terminals between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Read more >
LOS ANGELES, California, August 19, 2015 (ENS) – High performance renewable diesel fuel was introduced to Southern California drivers this week by Propel Fuels, based in Sacramento.
Called Diesel HPR (High Performance Renewable), the fuel is a low-carbon, renewable fuel that meets petroleum diesel specifications and can be used in any diesel engine.
Refined from recycled fats and oils, Diesel HPR does not contain biodiesel or petroleum diesel. It is diesel refined from renewable biomass through Neste’s advanced hydrotreating technology called NEXBTL.
Neste, based in Espoo, Finland, is the leading producer of renewable diesel in the world, with an annual production volume of more than two million tons. The company is the world’s largest producer of renewable fuels from waste and residues. Read more >
OEMs, Cummins disagree on separate GHG engine standard
By Kevin Jones
LONG BEACH, CA. The second public hearing on proposed truck fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards shaped up much like the first: Trucking industry representatives expressed qualified support for the stringency goals and implementation schedule outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while air quality regulators and environmental groups called for tougher restrictions and a tighter timeline. And within trucking there is a divide over exactly how the engine and complete vehicle should be measured.
The big four North American heavy-duty truck manufacturers (Daimler Trucks North America, Navistar, Paccar and Volvo Trucks North America) spoke with one voice Tuesday, as Dan Kieffer, director of emissions compliance for Paccar, delivered a statement on behalf of all.
Calling the Phase II rule “historic in its scope and complexity,” Kieffer noted “a long list of technical and protocol issues” the truck makers will work closely with EPA and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to resolve. Read more >
Environmentalists, industry debate proposed new federal clean-truck rules
By Sandy Mazza, Daily Breeze
Environmentalists and trucking industry representatives clashed Tuesday at an all-day hearing in Long Beach on the federal government’s next regulatory phase of diesel truck emissions, which experts say account for 20 percent of greenhouse gases.
With government regulators listening intently, California officials called the emission reduction targets for medium and heavy-duty trucks too lenient, while industry leaders complained they are too restrictive and poorly thought out.
Their arguments were delivered in back-to-back public hearings on the 629-page proposed law drafted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation. The rule, in short, is considered “phase two” of the environmental initiative launched in 2010 by President Barack Obama.
Rep. Grace Napolitano, whose district includes much of the San Gabriel Valley, spoke in favor of stricter rules that would lead to a 40 percent reduction of 2010-level vehicle emissions by 2025.
Read more >
Trucking toward cleaner air: Guest commentary
By Michael Brune
When my parents were kids, our cars didn’t require seatbelts. They remember sitting in the backseat catching air as the car rolled over speed bumps and potholes. But because of American innovation and the desire to keep our families safe, the car I drive my kids around in has airbags on all sides, and endless safety features. And our next car will probably be able to drive itself.
Along with technology that keeps our families safe, our cars are more fuel-efficient than ever before, which means they are safer for our environment. And thanks to more hybrids and electric vehicles on the road and fuel efficiency standards, our passenger cars go further on a gallon of gas than we could even imagine when I was a kid. Or not use any gas at all.
But the heavy-duty trucks driving alongside us haven’t kept pace — in fact, oil use from freight trucks is growing rapidly. While heavy-duty trucks account for only 7 percent of the vehicles on the road, they guzzle a quarter of all fuel. And our tractor trailers are stuck in the 1970s, still averaging roughly 6 miles per gallon. Read more >
California Aims to Regulate Sustainability Into Freight System
by David Cullen
When it comes to rolling out regulations, California leads the nation. Rules written by the Golden State, due to its immense population and gargantuan economic might, tend to be adopted sooner or later by other states and to influence federal rulemaking. This is especially so when it comes to rules aimed at environmental protection and sustainability.
That’s why trucking stakeholders across the country will be keenly watching developments in California that will determine the potentially sweeping impact of a recent proclamation by Gov. Edmund G. ("Jerry") Brown, Jr.
Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15 directs state agencies to craft an “integrated action plan” by next July that would set “clear targets to improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies [for cars and trucks] and increase competitiveness of California's freight system.” Read more >
Wind is blowing China's air pollution 'straight across' to the US West Coast
By Barbara Tasch
A new study links the increase in ozone precursor emissions in Asia to increased levels of ozone over the US's West Coast.
In the study, published Monday, a team of six researchers from US and Dutch universities found that ozone concentrations over China increased by about 7% between 2005 and 2010 and that ozone traveling in the air from China has reached the western part of the US, challenging the reduction of ozone levels there.
China's meandering pollution likely offset the 2005-10 reduction in ozone that had been expected following US policies aimed at reducing emissions, by roughly 43%, the researchers found.
Over that period, the US government put in place emission-reducing measures and curbed the production of ozone-forming nitrogen oxides by 20% on the West Coast, according to Wageningen University. Yet that did not improve the quality of the air especially in terms of ozone reduction.
And the increased air pollution in Asia might be at least partly to blame.
Lead researcher Willem Verstraeten of Wageningen University in the Netherlands said in statement that the "dominant westerly winds blew this air pollution straight across to the United States."
He added: "As a manner of speaking, China is exporting its air pollution to the West Coast of America." Read more >
Aside from smartphones, toys and computers, China exports a different kind of product into the western United States — air pollution.
A study released Monday by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA found that smog-forming chemicals making their way across the Pacific Ocean from China are undermining the progress California has made in reducing ozone, the most caustic component in L.A. smog.
From 2005 through 2010, western states have cut ozone-forming air pollutants by 21 percent, but the NASA/JPL study found no drop at all when measuring smog-forming gases in the midtroposphere, located 10,000 to 30,000 feet above ground level.
Just under half of what should have been a 2 percent drop was offset by China’s contribution, stemming from a 21 percent rise in ozone-forming pollutants emitted by car tailpipes and coal plants from a robust Chinese economy during the six years studied. Slightly more than half was due to natural causes — stratospheric ozone descending through the sky as a result of cyclical atmospheric winds helped by an El Niño in 2009-2010, the scientists concluded. Read more >
Customer acceptance of upcoming emissions standards at the forefront of Phase II public hearing
By Lucas Deal
As environmentalists and manufacturers shared their thoughts on realistic fuel consumption reduction goals for medium- and heavy-duty engines for next decade, it was ATD Chairman Eric Jorgensen who offered the most likely obstacle to the success of the EPA and NHTSA’s new proposed Phase II regulations during an open public hearing on the regulations Thursday in Chicago.
Speaking on behalf of more than 1,800 truck dealers and as president of JX Enterprises, Jorgensen says the environmental benefits of Phase II won’t be determined by complexity or detail of the ruling—it will be how much it costs to implement it in new trucks.
The desire to reduce fuel consumption and emissions is shared by environmental groups and the trucking industry alike, Jorgensen says, but if Phase II attempts to reduce emissions too drastically it could become cost prohibitive to the end users who will ultimately bear the financial burden of the new technology.
“We need to find the sweet spot,” Jorgensen says. “[Phase II] only works if the trucks are in use,” purchased by end users at reasonable prices, he said. Read more >
OOIDA says that even though EPA has extended the comment period for its proposed Phase 2 greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for trucks through Sept. 17, the time is still short for truckers and truck owners to adequately process and comment on provisions that will affect their bottom lines for the next 12 years and beyond. OOIDA aired some preliminary concerns in a letter to EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials on Wednesday, July 29.
OOIDA leadership acknowledges that a short extension for public comments granted by the Environmental Protection Agency will last 30 days beyond the second of two scheduled public hearings in regards to the agency’s proposed Phase 2 standards for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy for heavy-duty trucks. However, the Association is concerned that the time frame for comments on a proposal that stands to add $10,000 to $13,000 to the price of new trucks by 2027 requires proper analysis and vetting by the stakeholders the proposal stands to affect.
“This is an extremely complex proposal, and a longer comment period ensures that OOIDA and other stakeholders, as well as our membership of small-business owners and professional truck drivers, have ample opportunity to review the proposal and comment,” OOIDA leadership stated in the letter, signed by Association Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.
“While extending the comment period 30 days beyond the last planned public meeting is a laudable decision, it does not adequately provide for sufficient time.” Read more >
This year, the freight movement sector will be facing the development of new emissions rules affecting trucking, warehousing and distribution centers in California. Through legislative approaches, executive orders and other regulatory measures currently in development, a slew of new compliance concerns are just around the corner. Since the early years of the 21st century, California has greatly reduced community health risks from freight emissions. As a result, the trucking industry — three-fourths of which is made up of small family-owned businesses — has cut particulate matter emissions by 99% by investing more than $7 billion in clean truck technologies. This number alone is equivalent to taking 1.4 million cars off the road. However, on July 17, California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a proclamation calling for a new wave of regulations on the freight movement industry, which accounts for one-third of the state’s economy and jobs. Read more >
A coalition of businesses and truck owners who are suing the California Air Resources Board believe a recent rash of roadside fires is part of a larger trend – diesel particulate filters failing the very environment they were designed to protect.
The Alliance for California Business believes DPFs have started as many as 31 fires in the last 18 months, including several in CARB’s drought worn home state.
Bud Caldwell, the organization’s president and owner of 11 trucks, says multiple fires in recent weeks appear to be the result of fires that started below the truck’s engine compartment.
“But nobody investigates fires unless there is a death,” Caldwell told Land Line.
Caldwell pointed to multiple fires along California highways during the last year, including four separate fires believed to be set by a single truck on July 6 and fire from one truck spreading to two others at a Natomas, Calif., truck stop last November. Read more >
Navistar Inc. fined $250,000 for violating state air emissions regulations
SACRAMENTO - Navistar Inc. paid $250,000 in penalties to the Air Resources Board for failing to follow proper testing procedures for one of its diesel exhaust filters, as required by state law.
“Companies that are in the business of providing pollution control technology for vehicles must make sure that their products actually do what they say they will do,” said ARB’s new Enforcement Chief, Todd Sax. “Navistar sold diesel particulate filters in California without proper testing at specified intervals, in violation of our air quality laws. To their credit, once they were notified of these infractions, they took prompt action and cooperated fully with ARB.”
The state’s Verification Procedure requires compliance testing for each category of diesel particulate filters after a certain number of units are sold or leased in the California market. Results of these tests must be submitted to ARB’s Executive Officer after each phase of testing in the form of a compliance report.
Navistar. failed to follow the in-use compliance requirements of the Verification Procedure for the DPX™ Catalyzed Soot Filter System. The company had sold more than 200 in California, with many installed on school buses in the San Diego County region, which should have triggered the required testing.
Illinois-based Navistar has agreed to follow all required procedures and paid $187,500 to the Air Pollution Control Fund to support air quality research, and $62,500 to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to clean up school bus fleets throughout the state.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and more than 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems. Read more >
EPA Sues Navistar, Says Some 2010 Engines Were Illegal
By Tom Berg
Navistar Inc.’s 2009-2010 “transition” strategy for exhaust-emissions compliance has led to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA claims 7,750 Navistar diesels sold in International trucks during 2010 were not true 2009 models, and without formal exemptions, they were illegal.
The suit is the latest development resulting from the company's tried but failed strategy to use a less costly method to meet emissions limits. It was temporarily helped by EPA in an emergency ruling that allowed continued production of the engines while Navistar continued to work on its technology. That ruling was challenged by competitors and thrown out by a federal judge. Read more >
How to Get Started as an Owner Operator in the Trucking Industry
Written by SayCampusLife Admin
Being a truck driver offers plenty of benefits, including job security and competitive wages. But you can really boost your earning power by taking things to the next level by becoming an owner operator.
Develop a business plan. You’ll essentially be in business for yourself, so you’ll have to come up with a business plan pertinent to your niche, and determine your estimated cash flow, expenses, start-up costs, and so forth. Make sure this plan is thorough, as you’ll have to refer to it when you apply for financing to get your business up and running.
Identify the employment potential for owner operators in your area. Get in touch with the local industry and large firms that use owner operators. Search our website for employment opportunities with either a price or a bidding range offered. Make sure you can easily get a gig before you invest in your truck.
Buy the right truck you can afford. Identify the niche you’ll be in, and shop around for the appropriate truck. Scope out a number of dealers and financing options, and understand the type of maintenance that will be needed.
Buy insurance that will cover your vehicle. There is significant liability in the trucking industry, so you’ll have to make sure that the insurance policy you purchase will adequately cover your vehicle. The prices will range quite a bit, so make sure to take your time in the shopping process.
Hire an accountant to take care of the books. You’ll be spending all your time working, so leave it to the professionals to take care of all your tax forms and invoices for you. Your accountant will also be able to help you track your expenses, which is important to keep your budget intact.
Learn to do basic maintenance on your truck. You can save yourself a lot of money performing basic maintenance like changing tires rather than always relying on a mechanic. Read more >
Judge dismisses most of OOIDA lawsuit against CARB, transfers owner-op’s claim
By James Jaillet
The federal judge overseeing the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s lawsuit challenging California emissions standards has again dismissed most of the owner-driver advocacy group’s litigation.
U.S. District Judge Morrison England issued the ruling last week. He also transferred the remaining elements of the case to a larger federal appellate court.
OOIDA’s 2013 lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board and some of its members, challenging the Constitutionality of the state’s tough emissions regulations, was dismissed in full in November of last year. But a citation issued to one of the owner-operator plaintiffs in the case allowed OOIDA to revive it and bring its claims back to court. Read more >
Federal regulators on July 13 formally published their proposal in the Federal Register that would tighten greenhouse-gas emissions for trucks, improve their fuel economy and regulate trailer efficiency for the first time. Details of the Phase 2 joint proposed rule were first announced June 19 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The proposal would phase in more stringent standards for heavy- and medium-duty trucks from 2021 through 2027. The more than 1,000-page main proposal includes separate standards for engines and vehicles. Read more >
This 100 Percent Electric Eighteen-Wheeler Just Hit The Road In Germany
by Ari Phillips
On Tuesday, an all-electric tractor-trailer hit the road in Munich, Germany — the first time such a large electric vehicle made by a European manufacturer has gone into regular service in Europe, according to BMW, the company behind the project.
The 40-ton truck has a range of about 62 miles per charge, which takes three or four hours. Its first deployment will entail transporting vehicle components — such as shock absorbers, springs and steering systems — over stretches of less than two miles across Munich seven times a day.
Developed by BMW Group and the SCHERM group, a German automotive service provider, the big rig is a model from the Dutch manufacturer Terberg. According to the companies, the truck is “CO2-free, quiet and generates almost no fine particle pollution.” They also state that compared to a standard diesel engine truck, the electric truck will save 11.8 tons of carbon dioxide per year — the equivalent of the emissions produced by driving one of BMW’s more efficient cars, which gets an average of 60 miles per gallon, around the world almost three times. Read more >
California Coalition to Promote Benefits of Natural Gas Trucks
by NGT News
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) says it is teaming up with the California Trucking Association (CTA) to help expand awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas as a transportation fuel for heavy-duty trucking and goods movement.
"SoCalGas is pleased to join with the California Trucking Association to help its members learn more about the many ways natural gas fueling and clean natural gas engine technologies can help them save money, clean up our air and mitigate the environmental impact of goods movement," states Rodger Schwecke, vice president of customer solutions for SoCalGas. Read more >
Bosch: Emissions – How diesel affects air quality
By Automotive World
Bosch explains why diesel is crucial to achieving CO2 targets, how to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, and what impact smokers and tires have on emissions of particulate matter
Paris, London, Stuttgart – air quality is at the focus of debate all over Europe – a debate that often centers on diesel engines.
Air quality is at the focus of debate all over Europe – a debate that often centers on diesel engines. “In Bosch’s view, it’s important to base the air quality debate on facts,” says Dr. Rolf Bulander, chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector. Read more >
Trucking Industry Faces Stricter Fuel Efficiency Standards
By Lauren Gardner
Medium- and heavy-duty fleet trucks would have to meet stricter fuel efficiency standards under a proposal by federal environmental and highway regulators, part of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce climate-warming pollution across the economy.
The standards proposed on June 19 would cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 billion metric tons over the life of the nation’s fleet, agencies said.
That’s roughly equivalent to the pollution linked to electricity use by all U.S. households for one year. The standards — covering tractor trailers and the largest vans and pickup trucks — would begin in the 2021 model year and be applied through model year 2027.
For trailers, the standards would take effect in the 2018 model year.
The transportation sector is the second-largest contributor to the U.S. carbon footprint, after the utility industry, according to the EPA. Medium- and heavy-duty trucks emit about 20 percent of the sector’s carbon pollution while accounting for just 5 percent of the vehicles on the road. Read more >
Moreno Valley warehouse project raising concerns over air quality
By Jim Steinberg, The Sun
MORENO VALLEY >> A master planned warehouse development that would fill nearly 700 football fields has raised concerns among state and regional air quality regulators, the Riverside County Transportation Commission and the American Lung Association.
The proposed World Logistics Center — with its 40.6 million square feet of warehouses and 14,000 daily truck visits — is planned for construction east of Moreno Valley and south of the 60 Freeway. Construction of the $3 billion project is expected to take 15 years.
“This project is so large that it will have consequences for the region,” said Ronald Loveridge, who is director of the UC Riverside Center for Sustainable Suburban Development and former longtime mayor of Riverside.
The project is coming up for approval at a time real estate professionals say the combined San Bernardino and Riverside county area is experiencing its third and largest warehouse building boom. Read more >
Trucking Companies Try New Approach at Congested California Ports
By Erica E. Phillips
LOS ANGELES—A handful of companies are betting the days of truck drivers owning their own vehicles is coming to an end.
Operating primarily in Southern California, the firms are buying trucks and employing drivers full time to haul goods the short distance between ports and nearby rail yards and warehouses, a key link in the national supply chain known as drayage trucking.
The new outfits include a startup backed by private equity firm Saybrook Capital LLC and others that converted from independent contractor models, where drivers own or lease their own trucks. While all-employee drayage companies account for less than 5% of the more than 10,000 drivers at Southern California ports, that’s double their share a year ago, according to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which is working to organize the employee drivers. Read more >
Study: Fireworks cause a toxic brew of unhealthy air
by Shannon Rae Green
The thousands of Fourth of July fireworks celebrations across the nation bring a toxic brew of air pollution to our atmosphere, according to a recent study from federal scientists.
The exploding fireworks unleash tiny particles — about 1/30th the diameter of a typical human hair — that can affect health because they travel deep into a person's respiratory tract, entering the lungs.
The tiny particles are known as "particulate matter" and include dust, dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets and are measured in micrometers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A micrometer is one-millionth of a meter. Read more >
Trucking Speeds Ahead as Fastest-Growing Small Business Industry
by Benjamin Pimentel
Those big rigs you see rumbling down the freeway are a sign of good times.
Trucking is now the fastest-growing small-business industry in the U.S., thanks to a robust economy and expanded options for small-business loans and financing.
Two kinds of small businesses in trucking posted the biggest jumps in revenue in the 12-month period ending May 31, according to a report released this month by Sageworks, a financial analysis software company.
General freight trucking, which covers small businesses that transport a wide range of merchandise, was at No. 1, recording a nearly 25% uptick in sales, the report said. Read more >
Diesel burning trucks idling for long periods is a problem in the City of Commerce. On Tuesday, city officials, residents and local environmental groups unveiled the city’s latest effort to try to curtail the practice: 20 new “No Idling” signs to be installed in areas where truck drivers tend to stop off for a while but keep their engines running.
The new signs were created in partnership with East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the California Environmental Protection Agency, (CalEPA) and are meet new new regulations set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regarding the idling of commercial vehicles.
The new regulations require “No Idling” signs to be placed at locations where significant numbers of idling trucks have been found. Read more >
EPA, DOT release proposal for next phase of emissions, fuel economy standards, set to take effect 2018
By Matt Cole
The EPA and DOT announced Friday their plans for Phase 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles.
Phase 2 of the program would “significantly reduce carbon emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty vehicles, helping to address the challenges of global climate change and energy security,” according to the EPA.
The proposed standards will begin in model year 2018 for trailers and 2021 for tractors and culminate in vehicle-wide — engine, truck and trailer — standards for model year 2027 vehicles.
The EPA said the proposed plan will cut GHG emission by approximately 1 billion metric tons and conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold during the program. Read more >
America's Trucking Industry May Become a Bit Less Dirty
By VICE News
The US government proposed on Friday new rules to limit emissions from big, heavy-duty trucks and long-haul tractor trailers — a move that underscored the Obama administration's commitment towards fighting climate change.
The new emission standards would apply to a wide range of vehicles, from the largest pickup trucks and vans to semi-trucks, as well as trailers, and would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 billion metric tons and conserve about 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the lifetime of the vehicles sold, according to the joint guidelines from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The proposed rules hold the potential to significantly cut US emissions: The transportation sector is the second largest contributor, accounting for about 27 percent of the nation's carbon pollution. Yet, the trucking industry is weary of the costs of implementing the proposed rules, which the public has 30 days in which to submit comments, but it also sees potential savings in improved fuel efficiency. Read more >
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday introduced a major climate change regulation intended to reduce planet-warming carbon pollution from heavy-duty trucks.
The rule, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department, is the latest in a march of pollution constraints that President Obama has put forth on different sectors of the economy as he seeks to make tackling climate change a cornerstone of his legacy.
The proposed rule is meant to increase the fuel efficiency of the vast rigs that haul goods as varied as steel, timber and oil, as well as packages from Amazon.com. The regulations will also set emissions targets for other types of trucks larger than light-duty pickups, like delivery vehicles, dump trucks and buses. Read more >
Pope's climate change encyclical could sway U.S. opinion: scientists
By Mary Wisniewski
Some U.S. scientists are expressing hope that Pope Francis' encyclical on global warming embracing the view that it is mostly caused by human activities will change public opinion in the United States, where the issue is highly politicized.
Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe said the pope's document is important because more facts alone will not convince climate change skeptics.
"We have to connect these issues with our values," said Hayhoe, who described herself as an evangelical Christian.
Some U.S. scientists are expressing hope that Pope Francis' encyclical on global warming embracing the view that it is mostly caused by human activities will change public opinion in the United States, where the issue is highly politicized.
Texas Tech University climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe said the pope's document is important because more facts alone will not convince climate change skeptics.
"We have to connect these issues with our values," said Hayhoe, who described herself as an evangelical Christian. Read more >
Study finds truck fleet clean-up dramatically decreases engine
emissions near Port of Oakland
BY Karen Caesar
Black carbon and oxides of nitrogen down 76 percent and 53
percent, respectively, in four years
SACRAMENTO - A study funded by the California Air Resources Board
demonstrates that mandatory upgrades to diesel truck fleets
serving the Port of Oakland are responsible for significant
reductions in two major air pollutants.
According to research conducted by Berkeley scientist Robert
Harley and based on data collected from thousands of trucks near
the Port of Oakland, emissions of black carbon, a key component
of diesel particulate matter and a pollutant linked to global
warming, was slashed 76 percent from 2009 to 2013. Emissions of
oxides of nitrogen, which leads to smog, declined 53 percent.
Also during this period, the median age of truck engines declined
from 11 to six years, and the percentage of trucks equipped with
diesel particulate filters increased from 2 percent to 99
Dr. Harley will elaborate on these results during an ARB-hosted
research seminar and webcast open to the public at 1:30 pm (PDT)
on Thursday, June 18. More information can be found here at this
The webinar will be archived on ARB’s website.
The study findings are considered dramatic because they occurred
over a relatively short time. Comparable emissions reductions
could normally take up to a decade through gradual replacement of
old trucks or natural fleet turnover.
In this case, the improvements are attributed to the ARB’s
Drayage Truck Regulation and to the Comprehensive Truck
Management Program at the Port of Oakland, which require vehicle
owners serving the port to clean up their trucks by either
replacing them with newer models or installing diesel particulate
Diesel trucks are one of California’s biggest sources of air
pollution. Because they are so durable, they can operate for
decades and emit significant amounts of diesel pollution unless
they are retrofit with filters or replaced.
Adopted in 2007, the ARB’s Drayage Truck Regulation requires all
trucks serving major California ports and intermodal rail yards
to be registered and upgraded according to a staggered
implementation schedule. By Jan. 1, 2023, all class 7 and 8
diesel-fueled drayage trucks must have 2010 or newer engines.
Currently, pre-2007 model year (MY) trucks cannot serve the
ports. All 2007-2009 MY trucks are compliant through 2022.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and more than
40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California
identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant
based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other
EPA to propose stricter Phase 2 GHG Standards for new HD engines
There seems to be little respite for the heavy duty trucking industry when it comes to emissions reductions in this day and age. While California toys with the idea of a zero-emission, all-electric fleet, the Feds have again thrown down the gauntlet in their efforts to squeeze additional Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reductions from the heavy duty trucking fleet via “Phase 2” new engine standards to take effect in 2027.
While some regulators and politicians have described the industry as a “necessary evil”, industry members themselves are passionate defenders of their work, pointing to the fact the vast majority of Americans would be “naked and starving” if the trucking industry stopped moving.
Of course, no one in the industry wants to stop moving and they especially don’t want their customers naked or starving. That brings us to a crossroads; the economy needs the industry to help maintain and grow economic activity and the industry needs a strong economy to maintain and grow the industry, it is a symbiotic relationship. As goes trucking, so goes the economy. The industry is the proverbial canary in the coal mine when it comes to the economic health of the country. Read more >
Don't give CARB more power to punish drivers
BY PATRICIA C. BATES
At the same time that Californians want clean energy, they want it to be affordable and reliable. Wind does not always blow, the sun does not always shine, and these sources are more expensive than traditional ones.
The unanswered question of affordability is a major flaw in Senate Bill 350, which is part of a broader legislative package that attempts to address climate change. The Senate recently approved SB350 without bipartisan support; it’s now before the Assembly. Read more >
New U.S. truck emissions rules could touch off industry struggle
By Nick Carey
CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. environmental regulators are expected within days to propose rules to make trucks more fuel efficient, and trucking industry executives and lobbyists familiar with the process said the rules will probably call for boosting fuel efficiency by 2027 nearly 40 percent from 2010 levels.
Truckers say the industry is willing to accept tighter federal standards, since motor fuel accounts for about a third of its costs. Truckers also want consistent standards throughout the country instead of a separate state rule in California.
But various segments of the trucking industry disagree about how federal rules should be structured and implemented. So the Environmental Protection Agency proposal for heavy trucks could prompt an intramural struggle to influence the final regulations. Read more >
Air quality rules tightened after cancer risk found to be 3 times higher
By Tony Barboza
Dozens of Southern California facilities, including oil refineries, aerospace plants and metal factories, will face new requirements to reduce toxic emissions or notify their neighbors of the health risks from their operations under rules approved Friday by air quality officials.
The move by the South Coast Air Quality Management District governing board follows new guidelines from state environmental officials that estimate the cancer risk from toxic air contaminants is nearly three times what experts previously thought. Read more >
For truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, it's a waiting game
by Brian Watt
More than 40 percent of U.S. imports flow through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. An army of 14,000 short-haul truck drivers are tasked with hauling that cargo from the port complex to warehouses and rail yards around Southern Calfornia. But some of those truckers say, despite their critical role at the ports, they are among the lowest paid workers there, due to ridiculously long wait times.
There are an estimated 14,000 truck drivers operating in the port complex. They collectively move, on average, 11,000 cargo-filled containers each day, according to numbers from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Their ability to make a good living depends on how they are classified - and there are haves, and have-nots. Read more >
Big Trucks Emit Huge Amounts Of Carbon Every Year. The EPA Is About To Do Something About It.
by Katie Valentine
The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose new standards for heavy-duty trucks this week, regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions from tractor trailers and other big trucks.
It’s not yet known exactly what cuts the proposed regulations will call for, but according to the New York Times, the rule will likely require heavy trucks — like tractor trailers, buses, and garbage trucks — to increase their fuel economy by up to 40 percent compared to 2010 levels by 2027. Right now, the Times reports, a tractor trailer averages just five to six miles per gallon of diesel fuel. This rule could raise that to as much as nine mpg. Read more >
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