CARB seeks input from truckers, others on proposed truck emissions plan

| 8/28/2007

The California Air Resources Board staff this past week unveiled an aggressive plan to attack the oldest and most polluting diesel truck engines that emit nitrous oxides and diesel particulate matter.

CARB is scheduled to consider by mid-2008 a rule requiring retrofitting of 1993 and older truck engines running in the Golden State to be 2004-emissions compliant by 2009.

Truck engines manufactured between 1994 and 1997 would be required to be 2004 compliant by December 2010; 1998-99 truck engines by 2011; 2000-02 truck engines by 2012; and 2003-06 truck engines by 2013.

A second phase of regulations would require truck engines to be 2007 emissions compliant by 2019.

During a workshop Thursday, Aug. 24, to introduce the proposed regs in Sacramento, CARB’s chief staff member over heavy-duty diesel in-use strategies, Erik White, said the agency’s staff is seeking comments before finalizing the proposed rules. White said the proposed rules could change and be modified to include a new standard for carbon monoxide emissions.

Before the rule is finalized and formally proposed, CARB officials said they need truck drivers and others affected by the proposed regulation to tell them what financial impact it will cause them, White said.

“Stakeholders are going to have to work with us to make us understand what that is,” White said. “It’s going to be a question of how hard can the industry be pushed. Help us understand what this is going to mean for your business … we can only do that to the extent that fleets come to us – without that we have to start making our own assessments and assumptions and what’s when we have problems.”

CARB officials said they understand that most trucks on California highways are operated by owner-operators, and that the proposed emissions limits could cripple some trucking businesses. That is why staff members said they’re encouraging comments now.

The rule currently is a “first draft,” said Tony Brasil, CARB’s manager of in-use control measures. Brasil noted that the emissions rule could be altered to be more aggressive as “the devil is always in the details … The people with the least financial means – the unfortunate reality is that those trucks are the ones that have the highest emissions.”

Comments about the rule can be mailed to:

California Air Resources Board
            P.O. Box 2815
            Sacramento, CA 95812-2815

More information about the proposed rule is available at CARB’s Web site here. Retrofit devices verified by CARB are available here.

OOIDA has been actively participating in workshops about the proposed in-use diesel emissions rule. Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s regulatory affairs specialist, has traveled to Sacramento twice to meet with CARB staff members about the rule. Rajkovacz told Land Line that details released last week indicate the proposed rule could have widespread applicability.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in March that states may choose to enforce a rule such as California’s greenhouse gas emissions limit if the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t enforce greenhouse gas controls.

“The proposed regulations are potentially more stringent than I originally thought,” Rajkovacz said. “Of great concern for all truckers is the ability of other states to adopt by reference the entirety of the California regulation.”

“It is highly likely that the CARB regulations will migrate to eastern states, effectively making this a national regulation.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer