CARB: More trucking emissions crackdowns to come

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | Thursday, October 31, 2013

In the past five years, California enacted the most restrictive truck emissions requirements in the world, including the state’s most expensive regulation in history – the multibillion-dollar Truck and Bus regulation.

Those trucking rules may pale in comparison to future California trucking regulations.

The California Air Resources Board recently published a 123-page document the agency is calling a draft discussion of its Climate Change scoping plan. The plan is tied to California Assembly Bill 32, the 2006 law that directed CARB to draft and implement regulations to cut emissions from multiple state sectors, including transportation. California AB32, signed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has a goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, and 80 percent below those levels by the year 2050.

In the scoping document, available here, CARB acknowledges that most greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector come from passenger cars traveling in the Golden State. Other than land-use planning and looking at ways to limit individual vehicle miles traveled in the future, however, CARB requires little of passenger vehicle owners.

Heavy-duty truck owners, on the other hand, will see new requirements.

“To date, ARB’s focus in the transportation sector has been on reducing emissions through the efficient movement of people,” the document reads. “Although ARB has adopted some strategies to address the heavy-duty fleet, more needs to be done.”

The document offered few details of what future truck rules may be pursued.

Not only are more trucking rules coming, CARB says, but California wants to fundamentally change the way freight is moved by arranging for transportation modes. Under what CARB is calling its 2014 Sustainable Freight Strategy, CARB looks to take a “comprehensive approach to addressing emission reductions from freight transport in California, including emissions from trucks, ships, port activities and locomotives,” the document reads.

“The strategy will identify a clear vision for a longer-term sustainable freight initiative, and a broad-based coalition to develop, fund and implement a sustainable freight system.”

CARB will consider requiring or encouraging the use of zero-emission trucks to move intermodal containers from ports to railyards by 2020, and could implement such a program by a combination of agency regulations, lease conditions, port tariffs, incentive contracts or other means, the document states.

California will need to spend money for “advanced technology freight demonstration projects and pilot deployments of vehicles and equipment,” the document states.

“We must continue what we have begun,” the document concludes. “Climate change is here, now.”

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