News Room

Calif. considers delaying diesel-emission rules

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California air regulators took steps Thursday to delay the nation's toughest rules to slash emissions from diesel-powered construction equipment, saying the poor economy has left many of the vehicles sitting idle.

Members of the California Air Resources Board said they want to give companies more time to comply because construction activity in the state is down about 50 percent since the regulations were adopted three years ago, and that has significantly reduced harmful emissions.

Read more »

Next Round of Federal Regulations Has Suppliers Retooling Clean Diesel

EPA’s Tier 4 tailpipe rule hits next year as new carbon rules linger on the horizon.

The next phase of U.S. regulations aimed at cleaning up airborne emissions from off-road diesel engines will start taking effect in just nine months. The rule, called Tier 4, will all but eliminate the amount of diesel particulate matter (soot) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that new construction equipment will put into the atmosphere.

Split into two subrules, the Tier 4 standard begins phasing in with an interim rule in January 2011 for engines from 175 horsepower to 750 hp and, in 2012, for engines from 75 hp to 175 hp. The Tier 4 rule cuts down the soot an engine may emit by 90% compared to the current Tier 3 standard, and it cuts the amount of NOx an engine is allowed to put out by 45%. What will follow in 2014 is an even tougher Tier 4 Final standard, which will cut NOx output by another 45%. Then, new construction equipment will emit virtually no NOx or soot.

Read more »

Defections Shake Up Climate Coalition

Three big companies quit an influential lobbying group that had focused on shaping climate-change legislation, in the latest sign that support for an ambitious bill is melting away.

Oil giants BP PLC and ConocoPhillips and heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said Tuesday they won't renew their membership in the three-year-old U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a broad business-environmental coalition that had been instrumental in building support in Washington for capping emissions of greenhouse gases.

The move comes as debate over climate change intensifies and concerns mount about the cost of capping greenhouse-gas emissions.

Read more »

Winds carry Asian smog component to Western U.S., study finds

Experts say that baseline ozone, the amount of gas not produced by local vehicles and industries, has increased in springtime months by 29% since 1984.

Ozone from Asia is wafting across the Pacific on springtime winds and boosting the amount of the smog-producing gas found in the skies above the Western United States, researchers said in a study released Wednesday.

The study, published in the journal Nature, looks at a phenomenon that has puzzled scientists in the last decade: Ground-level ozone has dropped in cities thanks to tighter pollution controls; but it has risen in rural areas in the Western U.S., where there is little industry or automobile traffic.

Read more »

Obama's EPA to ratchet down smog goals

New federal clean-air guidelines will continue to reduce smog in the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier areas, but business owners struggling in the down economy feared any new rules would threaten their livelihoods, according to officials and business owners.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed stricter health standards for smog, replacing limits that reportedly ran counter to recommendations from scientists.

The new limits will likely put hundreds more counties nationwide in violation, a designation that will require them to find additional ways to clamp down on pollution or face government sanctions, most likely the loss of federal highway dollars.

Read more »

State air board must clean its own house

The California Air Resources Board recently threw out a tainted study about the health effects of diesel truck emissions after it was disclosed that the author of the report had lied about his academic credentials. CARB officials had known since December 2008 that the researcher had falsified his credentials, but did not tell board members.

As a former CARB board member and chairman, I was heartened to see current Chairman Mary Nichols’ gracious apology at the Dec. 9 board meeting for the recent mistakes that have been made in the on- and off-road diesel rule-making process.

While it was noted and appreciated, more progress remains to be made in rebuilding confidence in several of CARB’s program areas.

Read more »

CARB Announces Informal Grace Period to Self-Report Off-Road Vehicles Without Penalty

On Tuesday, December 15, 2009 the California Air Resources Board (CARB) extended an informal grace period for fleets that have not yet reported their off-road vehicles. Fleets that self-report will not face enforcement action if they report all of their vehicles prior to January 1, 2010 (for large and medium fleets) and March 1, 2010 (for small fleets)

Read more »

State orders new diesel pollution report

State researchers must redo a report that concluded 3,500 people prematurely die each year due to diesel pollution - a finding that was used to justify imposing the nation's strictest regulations on diesel engines.

The California Air Resources Board ordered a new report after the employee who wrote it was found to have lied about his academic credentials. That decision was made Wednesday after an air board hearing on the rules, which critics want to delay because of concerns over the cost of retrofitting and replacing the polluting engines.

Read more »

Board delays diesel rules

The California Air Resources Board gave truckers a break Wednesday on the state's tough diesel emissions rules, acknowledging that the bad economy has both improved the state's air quality and made anti-pollution upgrades unaffordable.

After a nearly seven-hour public hearing in Sacramento that featured more than 80 speakers including truckers, health and environmental advocates and even high school students from Oakland, the air board ordered modifications to the rules drawn up for consideration in April

Read more »

Suspend diesel rule, critics urge

Roberts: Researcher’s lie compromises study

SACRAMENTO — The state Air Resources Board is under mounting pressure from within its own ranks to suspend a regulation that forces diesel truck owners to gradually replace older rigs that spew toxic soot.

Beyond the possible economic harm to industry, critics of this toughest-in-the-nation rule are convinced that its validity has been compromised by revelations that the lead researcher, who crafted a persuasive study of diesel’s damaging health effects, exaggerated his academic credentials.

Board members Ron Roberts, a San Diego County supervisor, and Dr. John Telles, a Fresno physician, have urged the agency to reconsider its unanimous December 2008 directive or risk a backlash of cynicism toward future clean-air initiatives.

“I don’t think there’s another option,” Roberts said.

Read more »

Dan Walters: Air board's cover-up casts pall on diesel rules

A year ago, high officials of the California Air Resources Board learned that the author of a statistical study on diesel soot effects had falsified his academic credentials.

The CARB researcher, Hien Tran, acknowledged the deception and agreed to be demoted, but after his data were given another peer review, they remained the basis of highly controversial regulations that will cost owners of trucks, buses and other diesel-powered machinery millions of dollars to upgrade their engines. The Tran study concluded that diesel "particulate matter" was responsible for about 1,000 additional deaths each year.

Only recently, with the rules on the verge of final promulgation, did board officials formally acknowledge Tran's falsification, largely because one board member, Fresno cardiologist John Telles, did his own investigation and complained about an apparent cover-up.

Read more »

Fresno doctor wants truck air rules suspended

Staff member who lied about his training helped with research.

SACRAMENTO -- A Valley representative on the state air board wants the board to suspend new pollution rules for trucks because they rely on research from a staff member who lied about his credentials.

California Air Resources Board member Dr. John Telles of Fresno voted for the landmark regulations a year ago. But months later he found out that the lead author of a report on health effects of soot falsely claimed to have a doctorate in statistics from University of California at Davis. Hien Tran later confessed that he obtained an online degree from Thornhill University, state documents say.

"Failure to reveal this information to the board prior to the vote not only casts a doubt upon the legitimacy of the truck rule but also upon the legitimacy of [the California Air Resources Board] itself," Telles wrote in a Nov. 16 letter to Ellen Peter, the board's chief counsel.


Read more »

LOIS HENRY: Arrogance pollutes air board

As much as the California Air Resources Board would like to ignore this pesky little issue of a researcher lying about his credentials and using questionable methodology to pop out a report so the board could justify its draconian new diesel restrictions, I'm not lettin' it go.

Particularly after looking at documents one board member gathered to find out just how many CARB board members knew about the fraud prior to voting on the rule, which could cripple California's trucking industry.

The arrogance is breathtaking.

Read more »

Editorial: The air board’s shame

Staff never revealed internal scandal before crucial vote

On Dec. 12, 2008, the California Air Resources Board unanimously approved groundbreaking new rules governing diesel emissions. Members rejected complaints from the trucking industry about their heavy cost and from some academics who said CARB grossly exaggerated the health risk posed by the emissions.

Soon afterward, a Union-Tribune editorial writer confirmed allegations that Hien T. Tran – the lead scientist and coordinator of the study used to justify the stringent new diesel regulations – had lied about holding a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of California Davis. Instead, it turned out, Tran had a mail-order Ph.D. sent to him from a “university” based at a mailbox at a UPS office in New York City – and that senior air board officials knew this before the Dec. 12 vote.

Read more »

CARB Board Approves Modifications to Off-Road Equipment Regulation to Include Credits for Reduced Activity and Fleet Size Reductions

On July 23, 2009 the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved changes to the in-use off-road diesel-fueled equipment regulation.  These changes could have an impact on your fleet.

The approved amendments incorporate legislatively directed changes resulting from the approval of AB 8 2X in February 2009.  Contractors and fleet owners that have reduced overall fleet horsepower will receive NOx and PM credit to be used toward retrofit and equipment turnover requirements.  These credits do not expire.  Large fleets (greater than 5,000 h.p.) can also receive temporary relief in 2010 and 2011 for reduced activity due to downsizing or work slowdowns.  Additional changes also allow fleets to delay a portion of their compliance obligations for 2011 and 2012 until 2013.

Read more »

Senate bill would release AQMD air permits stalled by court ruling

Local agencies are backing a state senate bill tha t would release South Coast Air Quality Management District permits for businesses and public services now on hold because of a 2008 court ruling.

In November, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones struck down two AQMD policies, one allowing the issuance of credits to power plants and another regarding its credit-tracking system.

Read more »

Environment Groups Find Less Support on Court

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court heard five environmental law cases in the term that ended Monday, and environmental groups lost every time. It was, said Richard J. Lazarus, a director of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown University Law Center, “the worst term ever” for environmental interests.

Read more »

Losses of factory jobs in California blamed on regulation

A report to be issued today by the Milken Institute attributes the departure of 79,000 manufacturing jobs between 2003 and 2007 to onerous regulations and high taxes.

The El Monte factory stopped operating just a few weeks ago, but already it feels abandoned, an appropriate setting for a "Terminator" movie.

The dusty clock on the wall is frozen at 7:00. Below it, the deep pits that once held molten steel are now empty, and the parts created there wait in hundreds of boxes to be shipped off across the country or turned into scrap.

Read more »

Port of Oakland votes to ban dirty diesel trucks

People living near the Port of Oakland may soon breathe easier after the Port Commission on Tuesday voted to ban trucks that burn dirty diesel fuel.

The ban, part of a $15.2 million comprehensive truck management program for the port that takes effect Jan. 1, 2010, restricts truck models older than 1994, as well as models from 1994 to 2006 not equipped with soot filters. Later-model trucks have much cleaner emissions technology than those of previous years.

The proposal passed 5-1, with Commissioner Anthony Batarse the lone vote in opposition.

Read more »

Greenhouse emissions bill faces contentious summer of debate

WASHINGTON – Congress will return today ready to engage in a historic debate on whether the country should shift to cleaner and more efficient use of energy and reduce the heat-trapping gases building up in the atmosphere.

Before leaving for Memorial Day, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that would set the country's first mandatory limits on greenhouse gases, promote renewable energy and increase the efficiency of buildings, appliances and vehicles.

The bill now will be considered by other committees and should reach the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote this summer.

Read more »

Bill aims to keep emission-reduction efforts local

Legislation to use California's crackdown on global warming emissions as a lever to attack industrial air pollution is to be debated in the state Assembly this week.

The bill, AB 1404, is an opening salvo in a struggle that has been brewing since 2006 when California passed a sweeping law to control greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. At issue: whether low-income neighborhoods that suffer disproportionately from dirty air can benefit from regulations to control climate change.

"This may be the single most important opportunity to clean L.A.'s dirty air in my career," said Assemblyman Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), a co-author of the bill whose district includes a cement plant and chrome plating facilities and is criss-crossed by six freeways.

Read more »

Striking the Right Balance to Achieve Environmental and Economic Wins

Rebuilding our roads, schools and other infrastructure projects are at the heart of the $787 billion federal economic stimulus plan signed this week by President Barack Obama. Why? Because for every $1 billion the federal government commits to infrastructure helps to support some 35,000 jobs.

Now, let’s shift to California’s economic crisis. Here, too, infrastructure projects are at the core of the economic stimulus plan currently being debated as part of the state’s budget process because the Governor and Legislative leaders also recognize that infrastructure projects create jobs. In fact, California has literally built its way out of previous recessions, and it will provide that path to economic recovery this time, too.

Read more »

Voice: Worrying about new regulation

My family’s small trucking company, Calexico Freight Lines, has been in business since 1970. Through hard work and fortunate business opportunities, we have been hauling goods for our customers, including the world’s leading baked goods supplier, throughout California, Arizona and Mexico.

But today’s record high diesel prices and unstable economy forced us to add a fuel surcharge to our rates, as many trucking companies have had to do. Since then, we have lost over half of our business to a trucking company based in Mexico.

Read more »

CARB to vote on stiff rules Dec. 11

California will vote Dec. 11 on new regulations that will start with a phased-in schedule requiring diesel engine exhaust retrofits in 2010 and engine replacement in 2012 for trucks doing business in California.

The state Air Resources Board will have its draft proposal online Oct. 24, said Erik White, who heads CARB’s heavy diesel in-use strategies branch.

“This is the only way the state can meet the cleaner federal standards established,” White said.

The proposals will affect anyone who operates or sells a truck within the state borders, regardless of residency. All diesel trucks with a gross vehicle weight of more than 14,000 pounds and all diesel shuttle buses are affected, as are federal fleets, and privately and publicly owned school buses.

Read more »

Christian Science Monitor: California Eyes Going ‘Green’ Despite Slump

California moved ahead this week with plans to slash greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and foster a green economy, even as some business groups questioned the costs in difficult economic times.

Read more »

2,000 diesel trucks built before 1989 banned at L.A., Long Beach ports

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach formally launched a $1.6 billion initiative on Wednesday aimed at reducing diesel truck emissions by 80 percent within five years.

The first phase of the Clean Trucks Program immediately bans about 2,000 diesel trucks built before 1989 - an estimated 10 percent of the rigs that haul goods to and from the nation's busiest port complex.

Read more »

L.A., Long Beach ports inaugurate new anti-smog plan

A landmark pollution-control program at the nation's busiest port complex was launched Wednesday with an immediate ban on 2,000 of the region's diesel-spewing big rigs and few reports of backups or unusual delays in the flow of cargo.

An estimated 95% of the trucks lining up for the starting 8 a.m. shift at the adjacent ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach had stickers on their windshields and doors indicating that they were in compliance with new rules restricting access to the gateway for 40% of the nation's imported goods. Trucks without stickers were turned away.

Against a backdrop of cargo ships docked beside massive cranes, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster held a news conference to inaugurate the Clean Truck Program forged by environmentalists, drivers, shippers, community leaders and the ports during two years of contentious debates and legal challenges.

Read more »

ARB will consider the heavy-duty diesel regulation at its December 2008 hearing

SACRAMENTO - A few media outlets have recently run stories wrongly stating that the Air Resources Board has canceled the promulgation of a new proposed regulation aimed at cleaning up the 400,000 plus diesel trucks driving along California roadways. This is completely false. The Air Resources Board is currently set to vote on this extremely important proposed public health regulation at its December hearing in Sacramento. We are currently calling media outlets to determine where they received their false information, and also demanding corrections.

Read more »

Money, health at center of fight over diesel rules

They have been overshadowed by the state budget free-fall and California’s greenhouse gas emissions law, but looming regulations to curb diesel soot from a million trucks and school buses are certain to have enormous public health and financial impacts here while serving as a national model.

The financial impact alone could be far greater than the planned multibillion-dollar market structure of the better-known greenhouse gas law.

The Air Resources Board, which enforces air-quality standards in California, is expected to approve the new on-road diesel rules on Dec. 11-12—two months later than originally scheduled, in part because analysts need to cull through voluminous data and review material from the diesel industry, fleet owners, environmentalists and others.

Read more »

State Board Puts Emission Proposal in Slow Lane

Faced with mounting opposition from truckers, farmers and other industry groups, the California Air Resources Board has pushed back consideration of a landmark regulation to reduce diesel emissions from more than 300,000 trucks and buses traveling the state’s roads and highways.

The proposed regulation is designed to prevent thousands of premature deaths and more than $1 billion in health problems associated with diesel exhaust by converting all trucks to cleaner-burning engines by 2020. It would require truck and bus fleet operators to start installing diesel filters in 2010 and then begin replacing the diesel engines entirely to newer, less-polluting models. When implemented over the next 12 years, it is estimated it will cost business about $5 billion.

Read more »

Los Angeles port, truckers group head for court

The nation's busiest port complex and the largest trucking association are expected to face off in federal court today to resolve a vexing question:

Who would suffer more from the landmark clean trucks program set to begin Oct. 1: the trucking industry or residents affected by toxic diesel emissions? The answer could determine whether the program will launch on time -- and whether massive expansion projects will proceed at the Los Angeles-Long Beach port complex, already the gateway for 40% of the nation's imported goods.

The $1.6-billion program aims to improve air quality by replacing a fleet of 16,800 old, exhaust-spewing trucks with newer, cleaner models.

Read more »

Diesel controls could hurt truckers

My father started PDM Transportation almost 20 years ago. Coming from Mexico, he knew that with hard work he would be able to build a dream for our family. His hard work allowed me to attend local schools and go to college at Mt. SAC. Today, along with other members of my family, I help run the business.

Because of father's commitment and the hard work of my family, we now have a fleet of 20 trucks and employ 20 drivers and six clerical employees. We work hard to keep our trucks in good condition and have these trucks smog tested every year, as required by law, to ensure that they are in compliance with California air regulations.

We have also invested in new equipment to ensure that our fleet is clean and efficient.

Unfortunately a newly proposed regulation from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) will have a dramatic impact on our business.

Read more »

Ruling Due on Truck Ban

A federal judge will decide Monday whether to block employment provisions built into the Clean Trucks Program adopted by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach before the plan takes effect on Oct. 1.

The American Trucking Association filed a federal lawsuit in July, hoping to block the ports' requirement that trucking companies must obtain "concession contracts" to access port terminals.

The Port of Los Angeles approved a plan that calls for banning independent owner-operator truckers within five years. Only truckers who are employed by trucking companies will be allowed to enter the port.

Read more »

Diesel-rules story bigger than told

Daniel Weintraub's report on one San Diego-area contractor's efforts to comply with the new off-road diesel regulation was compelling but didn't tell the complete story ("For builders, clean-air rules' timing is tough," Viewpoints, Aug. 20).

For every one of the machines Mike Shaw has been forced to sell out of state, one high-paying operating engineer's job goes with it. More than 150,000 construction industry jobs have gone since the California Air Resources Board rules were enacted last summer. Many jobs disappeared in the housing crunch, but an increasing number are going because of these regulations.

Read more »

Daniel Weintraub: For builders, clean-air rules' timing is tough

Mike Shaw didn't want to be caught by surprise when the state starting cracking down on diesel engines. He owned more than 100 of them – powering the scrapers, graders and bulldozers that are the backbone of his San Diego construction business. So he paid close attention when the state's air pollution regulators wrote new rules requiring the owners of diesel-powered equipment to clean up their fleets. And as he thinned the oldest, dirtiest engines from his stock, Shaw thought he was well on his way to satisfying the state's requirements.

Then he ran the numbers. The state's calculator showed that he still was not even close.

"I'm overwhelmed," Shaw said recently. "I'm humbled by this."

Read more »

The Downturn: Bidders from around the world crowd Yolo construction-equipment auction

The global economy rumbled through rural Yolo County on Wednesday as bidders from six continents snapped up California's dump trucks and front-loaders at the Ritchie Bros. auction house near Dunnigan.

With new home construction down more than 50 percent from last year, contractors and equipment brokers across the state are unloading idle machines that not long ago were moving earth for subdivisions and shopping centers.

Read more »

Green Rules Force Small Truckers into the Red

In a move opposed by many small trucking businesses, the California Air Resources Board has proposed new regulations in an effort to curb diesel emissions from trucks.

The agency says it is taking the action to reduce the 9,000 annual deaths attributed to poor air quality in the state. But Indian American truck owners, who make up about one-third of the industry in California, say the regulations, which require costly upgrades and replacements, will force many smaller trucking companies to shut down.

Daljeet Singh, owner-operator of Khalsa Trucking in Bakersfield, Calif., told India-West he would be forced to shut his one-man operation down if forced to replace his 1992 truck.

Read more »

Lean year continues for California home builders

Halfway through 2008, California home builders remain on track for one of their least productive years in decades, the California Building Industry said.

The builder trade group believes its members will start about 72,000 homes, condos and apartments this year. The California Construction Industry Research Board is only slightly more optimistic, forecasting about 77,600 residential starts.

Read more »

Daniel Weintraub: Tiny businesses becoming engine for new economy

Claudia Viek thinks Servio Gomez is at the heart of the new economy.

A native of El Salvador who once sold oranges at the end of a Los Angeles freeway offramp, Gomez worked in a San Francisco frame shop and then, with dreams of being his own boss, opened a store of his own. It flopped, but that was just the start of his story.

Gomez didn't quit. He enrolled in a business-planning course given by a local nonprofit, pulled together a few bucks and started over on Valencia Street in San Francisco's Mission District. This time his store survived and grew. Gomez has opened a second frame shop that his brother runs and two coffeehouses, one in the Mission and another in Bayview.

Read more »

Adding to burden

Dems' plans turning business climate darker

For years, state Democratic leaders have dismissed complaints about a hostile business climate. They point to the huge, long-term growth of California's economy since World War II and assert that this is such a great place to live with such a talented work force that businesses will put up with a lot to stay here.

This argument may be partly true with two of California's most successful industries – the movie-TV business in Hollywood and high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. But for the economy in general, any claim that the state is somehow immune to competition is ludicrous.

Read more »

Air regulations, fuel, insurance all boost cost of business

Tom Brown, owner of the Sierra Pacific West engineering and contracting firm, says the California Air Resources Board regulations that will take effect next year may cost his business $55 million.

Brown, who took part in a recent roundtable discussion on the health of the real estate and construction industry along with other Daily Transcript Top Influentials, said as soon as April 2009, his and countless other firms will be required to make an emission accounting for every stationary piece of motorized equipment all the way down to a 25 horsepower generator.

"By 2010 we need to start retrofitting the entire fleet and we've got 145 pieces of equipment," said Brown.

Read more »

Dan Walters: State risks its economy on global warming fight

Given California's infinite diversity and its maddeningly diffused governmental apparatus, it's rare for the state's politicians to undertake a comprehensive and expansive change of public policy.

The decades-long stalemate on water, the state's perpetual budget crisis and the failure of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's health care plan are merely three examples of the political system's chronic inability to act decisively and effectively.

Read more »

Air board's ambitious plan to battle warming

Sacramento -- California's air board, for years an obscure state agency, will take center stage this week when it unveils a blueprint for the nation's most aggressive fight against global warming that is expected to affect every resident, industry and government agency in the state in the coming decade.

The far-reaching plan, which comes 18 months after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed landmark legislation to curb greenhouse emissions by one-third by 2020, is likely to encourage consumers to use energy-efficient lightbulbs and replace gas-guzzling cars with fuel-sipping hybrids. It could require industry to reduce pollution or pay fees based on the amount of carbon they release.

Read more »

DTCC Calls On Air Resources Board To Factor in Economic Environment, Record Gas Prices In Development Of Newest Trucking, Construction & Farming Regulation

Sacramento, CA – As gas prices continue to rise and following today’s announcement that California’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed up to 6.8 percent, the Driving Toward a Cleaner California Coalition called on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to consider the state’s faltering economic environment as it develops the newest in a long line of regulations impacting construction, trucking, farming and other economic sectors.

“Construction contractors, truck owners and farmers are among the first Californians who have been impacted by the downturn in our economy, the rise in fuel prices and increases in the cost of goods that we have all experienced over the past year. As the economy continues to falter and the jobless rate rises at near-record levels, regulators in Sacramento continue to put into place new and costly regulations on these very same sectors,” said Mike Lewis, Senior Vice President of the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition (CIAQC), representing tens of thousands of contractors who employ 850,000 carpenters, cement masons, truck drivers, operating engineers and laborers in California.

Read more »

State Republicans seek to roll back curbs on greenhouse gas emissions

They hope to use their leverage over the state budget to change policies implemented by Democrats and the governor.

By Evan Halper June 16, 2008, Los Angeles Times

SACRAMENTO — California has a huge deficit, a looming cash crisis, an angry public and pressure to raise taxes -- and in this dismal state of affairs, the state's minority Republicans see opportunity.

GOP lawmakers hope to use their leverage over the state budget, which cannot pass without some of their votes, to roll back landmark policies implemented by Democrats and the governor. Among them are curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, regulations banning the dirtiest diesel engines and rules dictating when employers must provide lunch breaks for workers.

None of those laws has any direct connection to the state budget; changing them will do nothing to close California's $15.2-billion deficit. And the Democrats who control the Legislature already have rejected Republican proposals to delay or eliminate the laws through the regular legislative process.

Read more »

School districts tense over new ARB's diesel rules

For hundreds of California school districts already facing profound budget problems, the proposed diesel-soot regulations from the Air Resources Board couldn't come at a worse time: The ARB is pondering a new rule that would require schools to buy new buses-they average about $150,000 each--or retrofit older ones at $20,000 or more per vehicle.

The strapped districts also are crying foul over what they see as a betrayal by the ARB. The original diesel rule excluded school buses; the latest version of the rule includes them. The ARB, conducting hearings around the state, is expected to make a final decision in October in Fresno.

"We're in a crisis," said Stephen Rhoads of the School Transportation Coalition, which represents school districts. "The rule says if you can't put diesel traps on the buses, you've got to replace them. It says replace the engine, but you can't replace the engine on these old buses, you've got to replace the bus."

Read more »

School buses may be parked

State air restrictions leave districts with few options

By Dylan Darling, Tuesday, June 3, 2008,

A shrinking budget has meant teachers and aides have been laid off. Now some of the district's buses may be given a pink slip because of stricter air pollution restrictions by the state.

"It's shameful that they would come to the schools at this time," said Jill Loftus, the district's director of transportation.

Along with companies that use big rigs -- such as concrete mixers, dump trucks and tractor-trailers -- to drive their business, school districts could have to replace or retrofit their diesel-burning buses over the next five years depending on how old they are.

Read more »

Clean air isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the cost

Our view: It’s strange to see school officials complaining about a push to improve kids’ health.

School budgets are tight, and costly mandates from Sacramento are about as welcome as a staph outbreak in the boys locker room.

But it's strange to see school officials grousing about rules aimed at improving students' health.

Transportation managers from north state districts did just that Monday at a meeting in Redding of the California Air Resources Board, complaining that required retrofits of diesel buses will further drain school budgets. A $20,000 overhaul, one pointed out, equals half a teacher's salary.

There's no free lunch, to be sure, but clean air is as good an investment as you can find -- especially when it comes to school buses.

Read more »


Tighter diesel emission plan concerns truckers

Commercial trucker Tito Mena drives a rig that’ll probably be illegal to operate within a few years.

If California Air Resource Board officials in October vote to adopt stricter emission rules for most heavy-duty diesel-fueled trucks and buses, Mena will be forced to comply.

That probably means buying a new rig, which could cost him $150,000. Worse, if the truck he owns now is illegal to run in California, will anybody want to buy it?

Read more »

CARB diesel emission rule too costly

As a Californian, the second-generation owner of a trucking company in the East Bay with more than 60 employees, and as a parent, I, too, want to do my part to help clean the air that all our families breathe. For the past several years, California's trucking industry has worked closely with the state Legislature and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to find practical, realistic ways to clean up diesel trucks, and to accomplish that goal without putting an undue burden on California's businesses and consumers.

Read more »

Associated Press: Housing Bust Takes Toll On Contractors, Economy

Robert Lindsey was not surprised by new data last week that showed new home sales have fallen more than 40 percent from their peak almost three years ago. He can tell from his company's bank account.

"We're literally losing money every month," said Lindsey, general manager of Signature Drywall Inc., in Sacramento, which installs drywall in new homes and apartments in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas.

In 2005, the firm raked in some $30 million in sales. Last year, sales were less than half that, and this year Lindsey hopes he can make $8 million.

"It's kind of like bleeding to death," he said.

Read more »

Washington Times: Diesel Risks Mostly Hot Air?

If you were strapped for cash and lived in North Dakota, would you spend money on hurricane insurance? That would be as foolish as the recent actions of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), part of the California Environmental Protection Agency. As part of its mandate to ensure good air quality in the state — a laudable goal — CARB has begun a program to reduce diesel exhaust emissions from freight moving along California's trade corridors, including its seaports (which require huge amounts of truck traffic to transport arriving and departing containers).

Read more »

New York Times: Soaring Fuel Prices Take a Withering Toll on Truckers

As his logging business expanded in the pine and hardwood forests of eastern Georgia, Jesse Hendley got into trucking. He scraped together the cash gradually to acquire seven tractor-trailers so that he could not only sell timber to mills in the south, but also charge the mills for delivery.

Today, though, all seven rigs are parked. The soaring price of diesel fuel — over $4.50 a gallon from $2.50 a year ago — has stripped the profit from hauling.

If diesel prices do not decline and make that side of the business viable, Mr. Hendley says, he will have to sell his trucks, or try to sell them. That is just what thousands of other truckers are doing as they shed used rigs in what appears to be the biggest shakeout since trucking was deregulated in 1980.

Read more »

AGC Of America Continues to Oppose California Effort to Change Standards for Existing Fleets of Diesel Equipment

Cost of compliance expected to reach $13 billion

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC of America)
announced that it will continue to oppose California’s effort to set new standards for the exhaust from existing fleets of off-road diesel equipment, persisting in its effort to bring reason to the long-running debate over this equipment.

Read more (104kb .pdf) »

Keep on truckin'? Long haulers yield to diesel prices

Their massive vehicles' low mpg weighs down the bottom line, spurring cultural and technological shifts.

If you think gas is expensive, be thankful you're not a trucker. Filling up their 18-wheel, 80,000-pound leviathans can cost more than $1,300 these days.

Because of short supply, the price of diesel has gone up more than twice as much as gasoline in the last year, reaching a U.S. all-time high this week of an average of $4.33 a gallon. With little hope of a near-term decline -- oil futures rose $2.17 to settle at a record $126.29 a barrel Friday -- the run-up is causing panic and prompting radical cultural and technological shifts in the struggling trucking industry.

Read more »

State air board takes aim at diesel pollution

State air pollution regulators Monday proposed rules that would require the owners of some 300,000 trucks to install soot filters or replace dirty engines.

The rules would cost the trucking industry billions of dollars but save thousands of lives, the California Air Resources Board says.

Read more »

Capitol Weekly: A reminder to all: Truckers want clean air, too

Over the past several years the California trucking industry has worked closely with both the Legislature and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to find practical and realistic ways to clean up diesel trucks without putting an undue burden on the businesses in this state.

For example, in 2006 the trucking industry transitioned to a new ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and has worked with the ARB on rules to curb truck idling. In addition, we supported legislation that would have banned the registration of any truck equipped with a partially or fully mechanical engine made before 1994, in order to remove some of the dirtiest and most polluting engines from the road.

Read more »


Pain beyond the pump: Gas near $4 a gallon raises costs for businesses


If the cost of a fill-up at the gas station makes you gasp, you ain't seen nothing yet. High pump prices are just the beginning of the four-dollar-gas fallout.

In Silicon Valley, flowers, pizzas and taxi rides to the airport are going to cost more. So will hay for horses and limousines to the prom.

Never has so much depended on the price of gasoline as the effects of four-dollar gas trickle down.

Read more »

Capitol Weekly: New clean-air rules for trucks set off battle between enviros, industry

As the nation focuses on greenhouse gas regulations set into motion by landmark legislation in 2006, state regulators are set to pass a less-publicized, wide-reaching rule on emissions from diesel busses and trucks that business groups say could cost billions of dollars to implement.

Environmentalists hailed the state Air Resources Board after its staff released a draft of the new regulations earlier this year—the first such rules in the nation.

But following a public hearing last Friday, the regulations were modified in the wake of howls of protest from business groups—a move that immediately kindled environmentalists' suspicions.

Read more »

Fresno Bee: Fresno doctor on state air board

Cardiologist John Telles replaces Fresno County Supervisor Judy Case

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Schwarzenegger on Wednesday named Fresno cardiologist John Telles to represent the Valley on the California Air Resources Board, an influential agency that sets statewide pollution and greenhouse gas regulations.

Telles, a 59-year-old Democrat, replaces Fresno County Supervisor Judy Case. Case, a Republican, was ousted earlier this year by the Democratic-controlled state Senate over accusations by environmentalists that she catered to agriculture interests.

Read more »

Associated Press: Food Costs Rising Fastest In 17 Years

Food Costs Rising At Fast Clip, Squeezing Poor, Forcing Food Vendors To Explain Higher Prices

NEW YORK -- Steve Tarpin can bake a graham cracker crust in his sleep, but explaining why the price for his Key lime pies went from $20 to $25 required mastering a thornier topic: global economics.

He recently wrote a letter to his customers and posted it near the cash register listing the factors -- dairy prices driven higher by conglomerates buying up milk supplies, heat waves in Europe and California, demand from emerging markets and the weak dollar.

Read more »

Los Angeles Times: Key Air Board Member Linked To Car, Oil Firms

Daniel Sperling is an arbiter of auto emissions, and his institute got millions from such companies.

When the state Air Resources Board met two weeks ago for an important vote, one member -- Daniel Sperling -- took center stage.

At issue was whether the board would revise a mandate requiring automakers to produce 25,000 emission-free vehicles from 2012 through 2014.

After hours of public comments, a board member proposed cutting that number to 10,000. Sperling went further, calling for 7,500. His plan, projected on a screen, indicated that it would save carmakers more than $1 billion a year compared with current rules.

Read more »

California emissions grants deadline is April 1

Applications must be submitted to the California Air Resources Board by April 11 to qualify for the latest round of funding to retrofit or replace trucks to reduce emissions.

Grants also are available to reduce idling and emissions from refrigerated trailers.

Read more »

Hydrogen Car Prospects Sputter

Even California, which wants to lead the U.S. in green technology, can't seem to will technology to evolve fast enough. At least, that was the conclusion last week when California regulators confronted the stark reality that the state won't be able to strong arm manufacturers into making as many hydrogen-fueled cars by 2014 as regulators had once hoped.

Read more »

Associated Press: Calif. regulators may change direction on zero-emission vehicles

SACRAMENTO—Vehicles that run on batteries or hydrogen could take even longer to show up in America's showrooms under changes being considered by the state Air Resources Board.

California air regulators on Thursday are scheduled to vote on a proposal that would reduce the number of zero-emission vehicles automakers must produce in California and 10 other states by 2014.

Read more »

Diesel regulations put pinch on businesses

LANCASTER - State regulators' efforts to cut diesel emissions, a major contributor of health and smog problems, is also putting the squeeze on businesses who say new regulations will cost them billions and drive many of them to either stop operating or to leave California.

Read more »

Forbes: Solutions

For 40 years, the California Air Resources Board has instituted precedent-setting air pollution regulations and programs that have been adopted by other agencies across the country and the world. One of the unsung heroes in helping us achieve our clean goals while promoting economic development has been California's business community.

Read more »

CARB asks public for input on diesel enforcement regs

Uniformed enforcement officers from the California Air Resources Board and the California Highway Patrol inspected 151,586 heavy-duty diesel vehicles from 1998 to 2006, writing citations for nearly $2.5 million in fines.

Read more »

California proposes a global-warming fee on businesses

In the first such program in California, and perhaps the United States, Bay Area air pollution regulators are proposing to charge an annual fee to thousands of businesses based on the amount of greenhouse gases they emit.

Read more »

Clean-Air Plan Gains Favor

Port Panel Onboard, But Questions Remain

The Unified Port of San Diego has made its boldest moves yet to cut air pollution from ships, trucks and other machines, but its plan lacks several elements that supporters said are critical to success.

Read more »

Environmental groups threaten to sue Port of Long Beach over air pollution

They want the facility to reduce its diesel soot and smog within 90 days.

Two environmental groups on Wednesday gave the Port of Long Beach 90 days to reduce diesel soot and smog or face a lawsuit in federal court.

Read more »

San Francisco Chronicle: State Joins Petition To Cut Nonroad Emissions

California is continuing to pressure the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to limit greenhouse gases, this time with a petition asking the agency's chief to clamp down on carbon dioxide emissions from construction and farm machinery, mining equipment and recreational vehicles.

Read more »

Brown targets off-road vehicles

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Jerry Brown will petition federal regulators today to set stricter emission standards on off-road toys such as snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and personal watercraft - an idea that manufacturers insist would trigger higher prices, lower performance and possibly even be the demise of some off-road vehicles.

Read more »

Senate committee rejects air board nominee

SACRAMENTO—A Senate committee recommended Wednesday that one of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's appointees to the state air board be replaced because of her record on public health issues.

Read more »

Florez wants to keep Case off air board

Senator opposes Fresno County supervisor's selection to state panel.

SACRAMENTO -- Fresno County Supervisor Judy Case is facing a fight over her appointment to a powerful state board that sets air pollution regulations.

Read more »

San Francisco Chronicle: Air board sets target to reduce emissions nearly 30 percent by 2020

California's ambitious goal to fight global warming now has a specific target that will allow officials to measure the success of efforts to reduce greenhouse gases in the coming years.

San Francisco Chronicle: Air board sets target to reduce emissions nearly 30 percent by 2020

Fresno Bee: Doctor in Fresno asthma study tapped for California air board

John Balmes, a medical doctor and University of California professor involved in a Fresno asthma study, has been named to the governing board of the California Air Resources Board, the state's air-quality watchdog.

Fresno Bee: Doctor in Fresno asthma study tapped for California air board

Union-Tribune Blog: Air Board Soft On Business? Not Even Close

So the California Air Resources Board is going to be business-friendly now that the governor has sacked UC Berkeley green firebrand Robert Sawyer as its leader? Yeah, right.

Read more »

Orange County Register: A Regulatory Bulldozer


With scant public attention, state bureaucrats have imposed what amounts to a new tax of $3 billion to $13 billion on a California industry, depending on whose estimate you believe.

Read more »

Coalition to Build a Cleaner California Disappointed With CARB’s Vote To Adopt Unworkable Off-Road Diesel Construction Equipment Rule

Sacramento, CA –Mike Lewis, chair of the Coalition to Build a Cleaner California and Executive Vice President of the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition made the following statement regarding the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) adoption of its off-road diesel equipment rule.

Read more »

SHOWDOWN: Industry claims cutbacks would hurt construction companies.

This Thursday a showdown looms in Sacramento over one of the most sweeping environmental regulations in years: capping diesel emissions from more than 180,000 off-road commercial vehicle engines. If enacted, the regulation would cost the state’s construction industry billions of dollars over the next 12 years.

Read more »

Firms fume over proposed diesel rules

Fight over emissions restrictions is first test of Schwarzenegger's new appointee on air quality board

SACRAMENTO -- The new chairwoman of the state Air Resources Board faces her first test this week as the construction industry attempts to weaken proposed requirements to reduce diesel emissions from its equipment.

Read more »

Coalition to Build a Cleaner California Unveils Proposal to Make State Construction Fleet the Cleanest in the World

SACRAMENTO – The Coalition to Build a Cleaner California today publicly announced a new approach to the California Air Resources Board’s proposed off-road (construction equipment) diesel engine regulations that would meet the CARB’s clean air goals and result in the cleanest construction fleet in the world.

Read more »

Daniel Weintraub: Science alone can't guide air pollution decisions

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent sacking of Robert Sawyer, the state's top air pollution regulator, has prompted critics to demand that the governor defer to scientists to make decisions about mitigating the effect of human industrial activity on the air we breathe. Sawyer is a respected UC Berkeley professor of environmental and energy science who did not want to take direction from the governor or his staff.

Read more »

Chairman of state air resources board fired

Robert Sawyer says he was asked to retire; he refused and was told his job had been rescinded.

The chairman of the California Air Resources Board, Robert F. Sawyer, was fired by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week amid mounting criticism of the agency's leadership on global warming and air pollution policies.

Read more »

San Diego Area Contractors, Construction Workers Warn Proposed Air Rules Could Result in Loss of Jobs, Jeopardize Crucial Highway Improvement Projects

San Diego, CA – Members of the Coalition to Build a Cleaner California today warned that the new California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations set for hearing on Friday in San Diego would have a devastating impact on the San Diego area’s construction industry, labor workforce, and on future highway improvement projects. The CARB staff proposal imposes new regulations for off-road (construction equipment) diesel engines, and is designed to reduce the amount of Particulate Matter (PM) and NOx emissions from off-road diesel equipment such as bulldozers, backhoes, and scrapers.

read more »

Editorial: Time to clear our air, use cleaner diesel engines

State Board Targets Smoke-Belching Construction Equipment

When it comes to air pollution from vehicles, it doesn't get more noxious than the soot from diesel engines. The black particles accumulate in people's lungs, contributing to asthma, heart problems and thousands of deaths in California every year.

Because of this, regulators with the California Air Resources Board have set out to dramatically reduce emissions of soot and another pollutant, oxides of nitrogen, from diesel-burning vehicles. The air board's latest proposal, which will be discussed at a meeting Friday, targets smoke-belching construction equipment - bulldozers, graders and the like - along with other "off-road" vehicles used at airports, ski resorts and warehouses.

read more »

CARB to discuss equipment regulations in Del Mar

After more than a year and a half of crafting the language that will constitute the new off-road diesel equipment regulations, the California Air Resources Board will meet in Del Mar on May 25 to decide whether to adopt this language.

read more »


Diesel exhaust plan hits a snag

Construction industry representatives and environmental activists are clashing over proposed tougher air pollution standards seeking to cut diesel fuel emissions from earthmovers, bulldozers, backhoes and other heavy equipment.

The California Air Resources Board on May 25 is scheduled to consider new requirements seeking an 85 percent cut in emissions and "associated cancer risks" from diesel exhaust by 2020 from offroad vehicles used in construction, mining and other industries.

read more »

Judge strikes down tough rules on diesel

Southern California air regulators cannot require railroads to shut down idling locomotives or obey other local laws designed to clean up deadly diesel pollution, a federal judge ruled this week.

The decision invalidates action taken last year by the South Coast Air Quality Management District to reduce a major source of air pollution in the Southland. Locomotives are responsible for more than 32 tons per day of pollutants, an amount equal to that produced by 1.4 million cars, according to figures compiled by state and regional agencies.

read more »

Daniel Weintraub: State's global warming fight is about to get real

California's landmark law to combat global warming by limiting greenhouse gas emissions is about to go from theory to practice, testing the political viability of regulations that could crimp the state's car-happy lifestyle and drive up costs for consumers.

The new rules could increase the cost of gasoline, add another step to annual smog-check inspections and make automobile air conditioning more expensive to repair. They might also force farms to change the way they manage everything from engines on equipment to manure piles from livestock.

read more »

New regulations target construction equipment

It may be the most important action taken by state pollution regulators all year--as important as the implementation of last year's landmark greenhouse-gas legislation. The vote carries a potential price tag being measured in billions, and yet the state Air Resources Board's upcoming vote has gone virtually unnoticed by all but industry insiders.

read more »

CIAQC thanks the more than 1,500 contractors who attended the CARB workshops — next steps

We thank the more than 300 contractors and other equipment owners who attended the California Air Resources Board (CARB) workshops this week in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Fresno—it was a worthwhile effort and your participation was critically important.

read more »

CIAQC Responds to Union of Concerned Scientists' Digging up Trouble

The Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition represents thousands of construction companies and hundreds of thousands of construction workers in the state of California.

We are surprised and disappointed at the report entitled “Digging Up Trouble” recently released by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The document was clearly designed solely to grab media headlines and it will not withstand the close scrutiny of any objective review.

read more »

$12 million in new Carl Moyer funds available for construction equipment owners in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties as of November 3, 2006

Qualifying projects will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis until all allocated funds (up to $12 million) are expended, or until the closing date (February 15, 2007), whichever comes first.

read more »

CIAQC issues response to CARB proposed off-road diesel regulations

After considerable discussion with CIAQC members and the Executive Director of the Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA), CIAQC has reached a consensus on a proposed alternative Off-Road Diesel ATCM for ARB staff consideration. We believe that it will be protective of human health and air quality while allowing regulated businesses to continue to grow, build California’s infrastructure and create jobs.

read more (.pdf) »

Pending California Air Resources Board off-road diesel regulation

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has proposed off-road diesel regulations that will cost you millions of dollars and require you to retrofit, repower or replace your bulldozers, backhoes and other heavy-duty off-road equipment over a very short period of time with newer engines  -- some that aren’t even available today. 

read more »

Proposed CARB on-road private fleet regulations scheduled for summer 2007

The California Air Resources Board is planning a private fleet on-road diesel emission regulation for the summer of 2007.

read more »

Newly amended Portable Equipment Registration Program

The California Air Resources Board has reopened the statewide portable Engine Registration Program to some older engines by passing an emergency regulation at its meeting Dec. 7th in Bakersfield.

Portable equipment includes some cranes, trailer or skid mounted concrete pumps, screening and crushing operations, grinders, tree trimmers, generators, pumps, welders, etc.

read more »

print this page

return to top

Site design by Chris Kennedy. Content copyright Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition.
Supported by the Southern California Industry Advancement Funds and other organizations throughout the state.