CA air district to CARB: Suspend truck rules, other climate change regs

| 3/23/2010

A California air quality management district is asking the California Air Resources Board to suspend trucking and other regulations tied to the state’s 2006 climate change law.

The Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District voted Monday, March 22, to formally request that CARB suspend several regulations developed under California Assembly Bill 32 – a 2006 law aimed at cutting the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Several trucking regulations, including CARB’s Port Drayage Rule, its On-Road Truck and Bus Rule, and the SmartWay (retrofit) rule, were created under the authority of AB32.

Brad Mitzelfelt, a San Bernardino County supervisor and board member of the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District, said district officials are worried that the region’s lack of jobs will continue to be at a competitive disadvantage as CARB continues to roll out greenhouse gas rules.

“We see a regulatory train wreck ahead,” Mitzelfelt told Land Line. “We have liberal and conservative members of the air district that agree the timing of AB32 – at this time – is not workable.”

The air district’s request asks that CARB suspend greenhouse gas rules until Congress completes consideration of several proposed federal laws concerning climate change, including the Waxman-Markey bill in the House and the Kerry-Boxer proposal on the Senate side.

“This air district is not a rogue air district,” Mitzelfelt said. “We’re leading the state in dealing with carbon footprint. A lot of these pollutants, we’re impacted by other air basins because of wind patterns. They’re not created in our region, but the regulations punish us because we have dirty air blowing in.”

California is divided into 35 local air districts that enforce CARB emissions regulations. Each district has a governing board as well as employees. The districts are funded mostly by citation fees.

CARB has yet to respond to the air district’s requests, Mitzelfelt said.

“Our district has had pretty good success working with them, I hope they take this in the right spirit,” Mitzelfelt said. “The U.S. hasn’t decided what it’s going to do yet about greenhouse gases, but I’m afraid California is going to put itself at a competitive disadvantage from an economic standpoint.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer