Thursday, April 24, 2014

Business, health and enviro groups team up to fight weakening of diesel controls in California

[editor's note: they buried the proverbial lede in the following release, but it remain an important topic as California considers changes that could weaken its crucial diesel cleanup program]
Contact:  Chris Miller
Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Manufacturers, truck owners, and public health, science and environmental groups called on the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to continue making progress on cleaning up pollution from heavy-duty trucks and buses.  The ARB is holding a hearing starting at 9am to consider amendments to the successful truck and bus rule, which has resulted in approximately 50,000 retrofits and reduced several thousand tons of particulate matter (PM) pollution to date.   

Chris Miller, Executive Director of the Advanced Engine Systems Institute, said, “We urge ARB to be consistent and continue to strengthen implementation of the truck and bus rule.  This is an important issue for those truckers who have already acted in good faith to install or buy advanced pollution control equipment and for the manufacturers of that equipment who deserve the regulatory certainty necessary for investing in clean air technologies." 
Don Anair, Research and Deputy Director for Clean Vehicle Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists stated,

"Requiring upgrades to older trucks is cleaning California's air and we shouldn't put the brakes on now. The economic and health impacts of diesel pollution far outweigh the costs of upgrading trucks and buses with technology that is readily available and proving successful at meeting our air quality goals."

“The American Lung Association in California strongly supports the CARB Truck and Bus Regulation because it saves lives and reduces health emergencies from breathing diesel soot,” said Royce, Calhoun, MD, FACS, a thoracic surgeon and volunteer physician of the American Lung Association in California. “When fully implemented, the truck and bus rule will avoid more than 3,500 premature deaths in California associated with exposure to this harmful toxin.  We can’t afford to go backwards.”

Today, the ARB is holding a hearing to consider further amendments to the truck and bus regulation first approved in 2008 and revised in 2010.  That regulation is focused on substantially reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) pollution from the 1 million trucks operating in California every year so ambient air quality standards can be achieved.  [editor's note: here comes the lede:] The amendments being considered would delay some compliance deadlines and provide lower cost compliance options to small fleets, low mileage fleets and fleets in certain areas with cleaner air.  These changes will delay the emissions reductions necessary to move California communities toward attainment and be less protective of public health in the near term than the original regulations.
Miller said, "Diesel emission control devices are reliable, safe, and highly cost-effective.  They can help achieve air pollution goals, but only if they're actually placed on a truck or bus and kept in good working order.  California needs to consider adopting measures to prevent backsliding – or erosion of the health benefits from its rule, including 1) an Inspection and Maintenance program to ensure that vehicles are properly maintained, and 2) prohibiting the sale of aftermarket control devices that don't meet appropriate performance standards."   
AESI is a non-profit trade association representing manufacturers of efficiency and emissions control technologies and products for vehicles and related applications.
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