By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
A bill in Oregon that covers emissions reduction is nearing completion at the statehouse.
Intended to crack down on unnecessary idling of trucks, the bill would prohibit commercial vehicles from idling for more than five minutes each hour on property open to the public. Violators would face $180 fines.
The Senate voted 27-3 on Tuesday, May 31, to approve the bill setting a statewide standard for idling. HB2081 now heads back to the House for approval of changes before it can advance to Gov. John Kitzhaber’s desk.
Examples of circumstances that would warrant additional idling are operating defrosting, heating or air conditioners; or installing equipment necessary to comply with manufacturers’ operating requirements, specifications and warranties – or with federal, state or local safety regulations.
An exception would also be made for air conditioning or heating during a rest or sleep period when the outside temperature is below 50 degrees or above 75 degrees.
The exception would not apply if the truck is equipped with an auxiliary power unit or other idle-reduction technology. It would also be unacceptable to park near a grade school and idle, regardless of temperature.
Another exception to the five-minute rule would be made for idling up to 30 minutes while a truck is waiting to load or unload, as well as actually loading or unloading.
Also, cities and counties would be prohibited from setting up their own rules to regulate truck idling.
Critics say the pre-emption blocks cities and local governments from adopting stricter rules.
Speaking at a recent hearing on the bill, several senators voiced their support for the effort.
Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield, said the rules sought in the bill are a step forward for the state.
“I think this is a significant improvement,” Beyer told lawmakers. “There is nothing in this bill that stops local government in their zoning code from deciding where truck routes are and where trucks can park. They still have that authority.”
To view other legislative activities of interest for Oregon, click here.
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