California scientists link tiny particles in car exhaust to heart disease
By Tony Barboza
A new study by California scientists has linked chronic exposure to microscopic air pollutants in vehicle exhaust to deaths from heart disease. The finding bolsters evidence that ultrafine particles, which are not regulated by state or federal environmental agencies, are a key contributor to health problems among people living near traffic.
Scientists analyzed health data from 2001 to 2007 on a cohort of more than 100,000 middle-aged women across California who had worked as school teachers or administrators. They used a computer model to estimate the levels of ultrafine particles the women breathed. Read more >
Driverless big rigs: new technologies aim to make trucking greener and safer
By Greg Harman
In the opening of Steven Spielberg’s 1971 film Duel, an impatient salesman gets stuck behind a rattling, soot-belching tractor-trailer on a lonely stretch of California highway. Just before the truck’s driver is revealed to be a homicidal maniac, the salesman has time to gripe about the vehicle’s billowing emissions. “Talk about pollution,” he coughs as he is enveloped in the rig’s thick, black smoke.
Pollution in the trucking industry has long been a public issue, and it’s one that certainly didn’t end when the first federal emission limits were introduced in 1974. For good reason: heavy- and medium-duty trucks, which include everything from ambulances and garbage trucks to cement mixers and semis, make up nearly a quarter of all US greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation, according to the US transportation department. Read more >
In last week’s column I identified critical mistakes California and its air resources board have made through the years.
My first personal concern arose in 1992. California unilaterally reduced allowable sulfur from 1,500 to 500 parts per million in diesel fuel. That reduction and other untested changes to the fuel formula resulted in fuel seals and hoses leaking and failure of injection pumps and o-rings. This had serious impacts for my construction business and everyone who used diesel-powered vehicles and equipment.
Next, despite warnings from many concerned scientists, the California Air Resources Board gave us the now-infamous gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), which led to the poisoning of our groundwater. California was alone in ignoring the science warnings and was forced by substantial water poisoning to rescind the decision after major expense by the oil industry and all drivers. Read more >
Truck Fleet Faces $523,675 Fine for Non-Compliance with CARB Rules
When They Find You, They Will Fine You...
By Matt Schrap
This month, CARB fined a Taft, CA based trucking firm over $500,000 for not complying with several HDD programs. Typically, fines of this size have been reserved for importers of non-compliant small engines or manufacturer and distributors of cleaning chemicals and supplies. This recent fine is a blatant signal that CARB is out there and stepping up enforcement activites on motor carriers operating in California.
Although it may take many weeks or sometimes months to reach a “settlement”, truck operators should understand that all it takes is one violation to bring down the house. Read more >
Natural gas trucking fleet could benefit economy, but has mixed environmental effects
By Kat Kerlin
Switching from diesel fuel to natural gas may hold advantages for the nation's heavy-duty trucking fleet, but more needs to be done to reach the full environmental benefits, according to a report released today from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, and Rice University.
With the so-called "shale revolution," the recent emergence of natural gas as an abundant, inexpensive fuel in the United States has raised the possibility of a larger shift in the level of natural gas used in transportation. The report examines the economic and environmental viability of such a shift, and whether it could enable a transition to lower carbon transport fuels. Read more >
How did the port shutdown affect L.A. air quality?
By Tony Barboza
Dozens of ships backed up off the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports in recent days, unable to unload cargo because of a protracted labor dispute. Work resumed at the ports Tuesday, but the slowdown in shipping traffic raised concerns that emissions from waiting vessels would degrade Southern California air quality.
Here's what you need to know about how congestion at the nation's busiest port complex affects air quality. Read more >
NOx, Ozone and Soot! Oh My!
By Matt Schrap
The industry is headed back down the regulatory road, whether we know it or not
In California, a good portion of the industry is still recovering from the first round of CARB imposed truck turnover requirements. With recent developments it is likely that more is still to come. In fact, portions of the industry are going to be facing down a whole new set of requirements within the next 10-12 years, maybe sooner.
With the imminent lowering of the Federal Ozone standard and most recently the SCAQMD estimating that it will not be able to meet 2015 PM standards, the industry is going to again be brought into the discussion for additional emissions reductions to help meet state, federal and local standards. In all honesty and speaking frankly, they never left the discussion or in other words, no rest for the weary. Read more >
New mobile air pollution monitor being tested in Los Angeles
By Jed Kim
The ability to identify pollutants in the air is made difficult by changing conditions and the fact that harmful substances are usually invisible to the naked eye. A new vehicle being tested in Los Angeles may change how air monitoring occurs by providing real time data of toxic substances in the air. Read more >
Southern California expected to miss 2015 deadline to curb soot
By Tony Barboza
Southern California is likely to miss a 2015 deadline to clean soot from the air, according to the region’s chief smog-fighting agency, which approved a plan Friday blaming the drought for reversing a long-term decline in fine-particle pollution.
The plan approved by the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s governing board on a 10-1 vote was criticized as weak by community activists and environmental groups. At a public hearing, they urged air quality officials to include stronger pollution controls to ensure the region meets the federal standard for fine particulate matter, or soot, on time. Read more >
Polluting Diesel Big Rigs, Forced from California, Head for Oregon
By Ken Broder
California truckers are being forced to get rid of older, polluting diesel big rigs that don’t meet the state’s new emissions standards. That’s good news for Californians who value breathable air, and bad news, in the short term, for Oregon and other nearby states.
All of California’s pre-2010 trucks—around 350,000, according to The Oregonian—have to leave the state by 2023, but some had to make a January 1 deadline. Although the Oregon Department of Transportation apparently does not have data readily available on ownership changes of polluting big rigs, everyone knows they are already rolling their way. Read more >
Richard Coyle Takes Helm of California Trucking Association
By Transport Topics
Richard Coyle, president of West Sacramento-based Devine Intermodal, has been appointed president of the California Trucking Association.
Coyle’s rotating appointment recently was announced at the association’s annual meeting in Monterey, California.
Coyle, a 26-year veteran of the trucking industry with extensive experience in international ocean transport, holds an international relations degree from Stanford University. Read more >
A Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled that truck drivers in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are employees, not independent contractors, and that seven of them are owed more than $2 million in damages.
The ruling, which comes after two years of legal wrangling and five strikes by drivers and their supporters, is a coup for labor activists and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which in recent months has helped bring several labor disputes to court. Read more >
Running on empty: California looks at hitting motorists with a mileage fee as gas tax revenue falls
By Evan Bleier for MailOnline
Plummeting gas tax revenues have led California to consider imposing a fee on motorists for each mile they drive.The number of electric, hybrid and fuel-efficient vehicles on the state's roadways has increased in recent years, leading motorists to use less and less gas.
The reduction in gas consumption has led to a reduction in gas tax revenues for the state. California collects a 2.25 per cent sales tax on gasoline and a 9.67 per cent tax on diesel. Read more >
Diesel pollution cut at Port of Oakland
By Mike Hornick
The mean emission rate of black carbon from diesel trucks at the Port of Oakland dropped 76% from 2009 to 2013, a California study finds.The improvements in air quality are linked to a port program to modernize trucks.
In addition, the average emission rate for nitrogen oxides declined 53%. Read more >
CARB fines four for fuel switch failures
— The California Air Resources Board has fined four shipping companies a combined $146,719 for failing to switch from bunker fuel to cleaner, low-sulfur marine distillate fuel upon entering Regulated California Waters – within 24 nautical miles of the California coast.
Adopted in 2008, the Ocean-Going Vessels Fuel Rule was designed to reduce fine particulate pollution, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur oxide emissions from ocean-going vessels to improve air quality and public health in California. Read more >
Diesel truck dilemma threatens Sacramento church's food program
By Mike Luery
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —California leads the nation -- and the world -- when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.
And this year, the state is targeting diesel trucks -- specifically older models made before 1996, which have the dirtiest engines and contribute to global warming.
Caught in the crosshairs is a Sacramento food ministry program that is helping to feed people in need. Read more >
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