Driving Toward a Cleaner California (DTCC), a coalition comprised of truck owners, grocers, construction contractors and other business and community leaders, proposed an alternative to the California Air Resources Board (ARB) proposed on-road diesel regulation.
The proposed on-road diesel truck and bus replacement rule would impact the almost 1 million trucks and buses used to transport goods and people on California’s roads, highways and farms. Starting in 2010, this proposal would require every diesel truck and bus operating in California today — which according to the ARB includes “those transiting California roadways from other states and countries” — to be replaced or retrofitted. Early estimates by ARB staff peg the cost of this regulation at more than $5 billion.
“Californians are struggling to make ends meet, and truckers, grocers and other small businesses are being hit by high diesel prices and the state’s economic downturn,” said Robert Ramorino, president of the California Trucking Association. “The alternative we are proposing is a balanced approach that allows for flexibility and early incentives, while also achieving significant emission reductions.”
The DTCC coalition’s goal is to continue working with the ARB on a rule that dramatically reduces emissions while also keeping the maximum number of companies in business and workers employed; ensuring the business environment is at its most competitive; and holding increased costs to other businesses and consumers to a minimum.
“California’s grocers are currently facing a variety of proposed regulations that could end up costing a medium-sized grocery retailer millions of dollars, ultimately driving up already high prices for California consumers,” said Kristin Power, vice president of government relations, California Grocers Association. “This alternative proposal would call on the ARB to develop a personalized compliance schedule for businesses like ours that are subject to two or more ARB regulations, thereby allowing businesses to comply with these regulations in a more realistic time frame.”
The alternative proposal would do the following:
• Allow for more flexible mileage exemptions for older model year vehicles meeting certain mileage thresholds. These vehicles would use an alternative compliance schedule while still realizing emission reductions.
• Encourage early incentive provisions for the purchase and use of new clean technology.
• Allow certain dedicated specialty use vehicles to remain in service on a revised emission compliance schedule.
• Require the ARB to factor in the cumulative effect of multiple regulations, to permit compliance on a schedule that considers the financial impacts of all rules rather than the schedule required by each rule.
• Require the ARB to investigate and address operational and other safety considerations of new retrofit technology.
Given the multi-billion dollar cost of this regulation and the impact on many smaller companies — according to the ARB, 55-percent of truck owners are small firms with five trucks or fewer — the DTCC coalition believes the affected industries and other sectors should be given the opportunity to comply in the most reasonable timeframe and flexible manner possible.
“The Blood Centers of California (BCC) rely upon diesel bloodmobiles to collect the more than one million pints of blood needed by Californians annually,” said Dean Eller, president of BCC and president and CEO of Central California Blood Center in Fresno, Calif. “Without these specialty vehicles the blood supply would be in jeopardy; therefore the BCC supports the alternative proposal, giving our blood centers more time to meet the emissions reduction schedule and plan for future vehicle improvements and costs.”
The DTCC coalition will work with the ARB to evaluate the merits of the proposed alternative and develop a regulation that improves air quality while also taking seriously its potential impact on California’s current economic environment.