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Attention Contractors!

Comment Deadline on Proposed Changes to Truck and Bus Regulation is July 17, 2014 by 5:00 PM

The message below is from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) regarding the comment deadline on the Truck and Bus Regulation. The referenced 15-day Notice of Public Availability of Modified Text for the Truck and Bus Regulation can be found here as well as on the website linked after the jump.

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California ARB Regulatory Advisory for Truck & Bus Regulation — Early Access to Certain Approved Amendments and Low-Mileage Work Truck Option

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) approved amendments to the Truck & Bus Regulation in April 2014, and these changes will be finalized later this year. Fleet owners may take advantage of the April amendments now and must act by July 31, 2014 in some cases to qualify for some of the changes.

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The Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition (CIAQC) was founded in 1989 to help their members understand and navigate the ever-increasing web of government environmental regulation under which they operate their businesses and build our communities, our infrastructure and the environmental systems that will enhance California’s future.

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Top Headlines

Air quality monitor near I-5 in Anaheim finds higher pollution level

The first permanent air quality monitor near a Southern California freeway has detected elevated pollution levels, a finding that will increase pressure on state and local officials to address health risks facing nearly 1 million people in the region living near busy transportation corridors.

Readings from a new monitoring station 30 feet from Interstate 5 in Anaheim show concentrations of nitrogen dioxide air pollution that are 60% higher than the region as a whole, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said.

The measurements were collected under new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules that require air quality monitoring along the nation's busiest roadways.

Monitoring instruments have typically been placed away from major roads and pollution sources because they are intended to gauge regional air quality. Now, the EPA is ordering local regulators to measure and factor in the dirtier air being breathed by tens of millions of people across the country who live within a few hundred feet of a major road.

The data will be valuable to local planning officials, who must consider the environmental impacts of siting developments near traffic, and give more leverage to clean air advocates.

Read the rest of the articla at the LA Times »


DIESEL CRACKDOWN: State regulators cite offending trucks

Gary Broadwater, 47, didn’t appreciate the $300 citation he received Tuesday, Nov. 19, after the flatbed truck he drove was inspected by state air-pollution regulators just off Interstate 15 in Lake Elsinore.

The truck owned by his employer, the Lancaster-based Frazier Corp., didn’t have a special exhaust filter that traps and burns diesel soot to reduce harmful emissions. Nor was the truck registered as part of a small fleet, which would have given the company until Jan. 1 to install such a device or get a new cleaner engine, state regulators said.

“It’s just one thing after another,” said Broadwater, standing in the makeshift truck inspection area on Collier Avenue near the Lake Elsinore Outlet Center. “I like clean air. I Iike clean water. But this is just frivolous,” he said.

Broadwater, a Lancaster resident, climbed back into the cab of the 2006 Peterbilt, holding the thin, yellow-paper ticket as well as educational literature about the California Air Resources Board diesel regulations.

“I got to roll,” he said as he shut the door and drove off with his load of construction equipment.

State air pollution regulators inspected 54 trucks at the location Tuesday between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. They wrote 13 citations.

These inspectors enforce a complex set of rules approved in 2008 that requires California’s truckers to phase-in the use of cleaner, newer engines or retrofit old engines with the special exhaust filters that cost about $15,000 each.

This owners of about 50,000 trucks in the smallest fleets of three or less face a Jan. 1 deadline to bring their trucks into compliance.

Read more at The Press Enterprise »


REGION: More aggregate mines needed, report says

California and parts of the Inland area need more aggregate mines to meet future demand and prevent higher construction costs and air pollution, according to a new state report.

The findings of the California Geological Survey report mirror arguments made by mine developer Granite Construction during its failed bid to build Liberty Quarry outside Temecula.

But quarry opponents and Temecula officials said fears of an aggregate shortage are overblown.

Aggregate is sand, gravel and crushed stone used in concrete and blacktop.

"While aggregate isn’t as glamorous as gold, it’s literally one of the cornerstones of modern society and important to the state’s economy," said State Geologist Dr. John Parrish in a news release from the California Department of Conservation, which oversees the survey.

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Truckers at Oakland's port undergo pollution inspections

OAKLAND -- Truckers at the Port of Oakland were met this week by inspectors from the state Air Resources Board conducting spot checks of diesel emissions on rigs traveling to and from the docks.

The inspections, which began Tuesday and will be conducted at the port through Thursday, are part of a monthlong statewide effort meant to ensure owners of trucks using state roadways are in compliance with air pollution regulations designed to reduce the amount of cancer-causing emissions that spew from big rigs.

Truckers driving on Maritime Street at the port's outer harbor terminals were randomly selected for a brief inspection during which air resources board personnel checked to ensure trucks had the proper emission filters in place and had registered their rigs with the state board that oversees air pollution standards.

Inspections at the port are part of the resources board's "Gear Up for Clean Truck Month," a multiagency enforcement action that has conducted more than 6,000 inspections of commercial diesel vehicles throughout the state and issued more than 700 violations.

Read more at The Oakland Tribute»


Earth Log: Valley air pollution could halt road funds

The next air-quality crisis in the San Joaquin Valley is brewing around a precious $500 million in federal funds for building freeways and roads.

The money -- along with road-building jobs -- eventually could be frozen if the local air district cannot come up with a plan to clean up tiny bits of soot, diesel, moisture and chemicals called PM-2.5.

The Valley's PM-2.5 problem is one of the worst in the country. This wintertime pollution is more dangerous than warm-weather ozone. It triggers asthma and heart problems. Researchers have confirmed PM-2.5 causes early death.

Several years ago, federal leaders tightened the standard. By December, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District must produce a cleanup plan for this new standard.

District leaders worked many months on a plan that leaders thought would achieve the new standard. It was scheduled for an air district board vote in October.

But this summer leaders learned that traffic on new roads in the next few years will add more pollution than they anticipated.

The district is scrambling. Now the governing board is scheduled to vote in December -- the same month as the federal deadline for the plan.

Read more at the Fresno Bee »


Obama administration proposes tougher rules on soot pollution

In another case of environmental rules becoming election fodder, the Obama administration on Friday proposed tighter restrictions on soot, a pollutant caused mainly by smokestacks and diesel engines.

It had been called "the sleeping giant of clean-air issues" by Frank O'Donnell, head of the activist group Clean Air Watch. And while little was made of it until now, Republicans and industry were quick to pounce on it as more red tape in a weak economy.
The proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule would set the maximum allowable standard for soot in a range of 12 to 13 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The current annual standard, last revised in 1997, is 15 micrograms per cubic meter.

The EPA had delayed its required review of the Clean Air Act's soot provision, leading New York, California and nine other states to sue. Under a court order, the EPA agreed to unveil its proposal this week.

Read more at MSNBC.com »


California joins suit against Inland Empire warehouse project

Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris cites concerns about the effect the diesel pollution from trucks using the facility will have on residents. The action highlights her aggressive environmental justice stance.

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris on Thursday ventured into a community known as a "diesel death zone" for its heavy truck pollution and announced her intention to join a lawsuit challenging a massive warehouse project to be built nearby.

Harris' visit to smoggy Mira Loma, where thousands of trucks from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach come to off-load cargo, underlines an aggressive stance on environmental justice issues by the state's highest law enforcement official.

On Wednesday, she proposed a $24.5-million settlement with Chevron to resolve allegations that the company failed to properly inspect and maintain underground storage tanks at 650 gas stations statewide. A month ago, Harris announced a settlement with cargo terminals at the ports requiring that they warn thousands of neighboring residents of the dangers posed by high levels of diesel emissions.

The Mira Loma project, in Riverside County, calls for 24 warehouse and industrial buildings totaling 1.4-million square feet near the 60 Freeway and Etiwanda Avenue in the city of Jurupa Valley. It would result in an estimated 1,500 additional daily diesel truck trips in the vicinity of 101 modest stucco homes where particulate pollutant levels are among the worst in the nation, according to environmental impact documents.

A USC study of 12 Central and Southern California communities found that Mira Loma children had the slowest lung growth and weakest lung capacity compared with similar areas — a handicap likely to affect them for life.

Read more at the LA Times »


Join Discussion with Senator Bob Dutton on Legislative "Good Government" Reforms

Join Californians for Enforcement Reform and Transparency (CERT), the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition (CIAQC), and the Regulatory Oversight and Analysis Reform (ROAR) coalition for a panel discussion with Senate Republican Leader, Bob Dutton, on the prospects for needed reforms in California to help the business community.

This unique forum promises an open dialogue on bold regulatory reform initiatives that seek to bring California's administrative procedures in-line with generally accepted standards of transparent rulemaking.

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2012 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy Public Outreach Workshops Scheduled - July 13 through August 23, 2011

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) develops a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) every four years. The RTP provides a vision for transportation investments throughout the region. Using growth forecasts and economic trends that project out over a 20-year period, the RTP considers the role of transportation in the broader context of economic, environmental and quality-of-life goals for the future, identifying regional transportation strategies to address our mobility needs.

With the passage of Senate Bill 375 (SB 375), which was enacted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and light trucks through integrated transportation, land use, housing and environmental planning, SCAG is tasked with developing a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS). The SCS, by law, is a newly required element of the 2012 RTP and will provide a plan for meeting emissions reduction targets set forth by the California Air Resources Board (ARB).

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What California Needs to Do to Fix the Transportation System

California’s transportation needs are so great that there has been little discernable progress in meeting them, either year-over-year or decade-over-decade. Rather than focusing on just a few critical priorities, the State spreads too few resources over too many programs with the result that new capacity is long-delayed if provided at all and the physical condition of California’s highways and bridges grows worse every year because of chronic underfunding of maintenance and repair. This untenable situation can and must be reversed.

The USC Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy and the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation invite you to join us as national and statewide experts discuss immediate actions the Brown Administration could take to leverage available revenues and support California’s Self Help counties to aggressively reverse the decline of California’s transportation system.

Read more »


EPA delays tightening of U.S. ozone standards until year's end

The Environmental Protection Agency pushed back plans to tighten ozone standards for at least the second time this year, saying it needs until the end of December so there can be careful consideration of what is best for the U.S.

"Completing this rulemaking has taken longer than anticipated," the agency said in a filing in federal court in Washington. "EPA expects that this process will take an additional two months."

The EPA has proposed reducing the air quality limit for ozone, a main ingredient in smog, to 60 to 70 parts per billion, from the 75 parts per billion set under President George W. Bush in 2008.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said tighter standards are "long overdue" and will help lower health risks.

Frank O'Donnell, president of the Washington-based environmental advocacy group Clean Air Watch, said he is concerned that the EPA may be having second thoughts.

Read more at the Star Telegram


New Tactic in California for Paying Pollution Bill

STOCKTON, Calif. — Officials who have tried and failed to clean the air in California’s smog-filled San Joaquin Valley have seized on a new strategy: getting millions of drivers to shoulder more of the cost.

Faced with a fine of at least $29 million for exceeding federal ozone limits, the San Joaquin Valley’s air quality regulators are proposing an annual surcharge of $10 to $24 on registration fees for the region’s 2.7 million cars and trucks beginning next year. A decision is expected when the governing board meets on Thursday.

Although the surcharge is not expected to change how much people drive or what cars or trucks they buy, air pollution experts say it is a harbinger of the future. After decades of forcing industry to clean its smokestacks, retool car and truck engines and fine-tune gasoline, regulators are exploring what they can do to force consumers to face up to the pollution they cause.

Read more at the New York Times »


Overestimate fueled state's landmark diesel law

California grossly miscalculated pollution levels in a scientific analysis used to toughen the state's clean-air standards, and scientists have spent the past several months revising data and planning a significant weakening of the landmark regulation, The Chronicle has found.

The pollution estimate in question was too high - by 340 percent, according to the California Air Resources Board, the state agency charged with researching and adopting air quality standards. The estimate was a key part in the creation of a regulation adopted by the Air Resources Board in 2007, a rule that forces businesses to cut diesel emissions by replacing or making costly upgrades to heavy-duty, diesel-fueled off-road vehicles used in construction and other industries.

Read more at SFGate.com


California takes new look at diesel rules

California’s air-quality enforcers dramatically overstated the impact of soot from diesel construction equipment, at least in part because the state’s abrupt economic decline idled thousands of vehicles.

Controlling the emissions from off-road diesel equipment – including the vehicles used in heavy construction – has been the subject of debate for years at the Air Resources Board. The construction industry, citing a number of studies, has long complained that ARB’s data was skewed.

The issue is more than a scientific discussion. The potential regulations could cost billions of dollars to put into effect, according to estimates from the government as well as private industry. By the ARB’s own estimate, based on federal data, diesel pollution results in some 9,000 premature deaths annually, most from respiratory-related illnesses.
The ARB’s earlier projections served as the basis of regulations to phase in soot-blocking equipment on diesel fleets beginning this year. The ARB has halted the rules while it reviews its research and findings, which had been sharply challenged by the construction industry and some scientific researchers.

Read more at the Capitol Weekly »


ARB concedes error in off-road truck rule, plans to revise regulation

The California Air Resources Board acknowledged something Tuesday that critics have been saying for months: the state vastly over-estimated the amount of diesel pollution emitted by big off-road construction vehicles.

The error, contained in an ARB computer model and compounded by a recession that idled far more trucks than expected, means that the construction industry would come close to meeting state-mandated targets for reducing pollution through 2025 even if regulations designed to force firms to retire or retrofit their dirtiest trucks are repealed.

Read more at HealthyCal.org»


Disagreeing With CARB May Cost Your job

Cal Watchdog

Katy Grimes: A 34-year environmental health sciences professor at UCLA appears to be on the chopping block and headed for the unemployment line for speaking out against diesel vehicle regulations, according to Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda. But that is not where it will end if Logue gets his way.

In a CalWatchdog exclusive, Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, shared a letter he authored, signed by 25 other state legislators, addressed to University of California chancellor Gene Block and Vice Chancellor Scott Waugh, stating that legislators believe Dr. James Enstrom is being terminated on August 30, for his outspoken opposition to AB 32, California’s global warming initiative.

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Dan Walters: Storm blows again over diesel-soot rule

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger staged a set-piece media event in a Southern California railyard Monday and, among other things, echoed the assertions of his air quality regulator, Mary Nichols, that diesel truck and locomotive soot is a major health hazard.

But is it?

There's actually an intense argument in scientific and regulatory circles about diesel "particulates" – so intense that the leading academic critic of proposed diesel soot regulations has been ousted from his professorship at UCLA for, he says, not going with the academic and political flow.

Read more»


LOIS HENRY: Independent thought not wanted at UCLA

I know you're going to wonder why you should care about some brainiac getting the boot at UCLA. So let me start by explaining why it matters, then we'll get to the nitty gritty of what happened.

It matters because it looks like UCLA is firing this guy because his work on air pollution doesn't fit with popular thinking and it wants to shut him up.

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Editorial: Air board still scandalous

Contrary evidence on diesel rules seems to be ignored

In December 2008, this editorial page reported that Hien Tran – the lead California Air Resources Board scientist on a study used to justify sweeping, costly new rules on diesel emissions – had lied about his academic credentials. The scandal seemed to unfold in slow motion. Finally, 10 months later, two members of the air board – Fresno cardiologist John Telles and San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts – denounced the regulatory agency for not disclosing Tran’s dishonesty before the vote to adopt diesel rules based on his work. This helped prompt the suspension of the rules.

Now, 10 more months have passed, and something extremely curious is unfolding.

Contrary to promises made by air board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, the accuracy of Tran’s central premise – that PM2.5 (tiny soot particles from exhaust, smoke and dust) causes thousands of premature deaths each year in California – has been found wanting. In February, a CARB-commissioned outside study was released that found no evidence for his claim. This corroborated independent scientists who said Tran’s theory was flawed because it was based on studies from Eastern states, where sulfates are common and may interact with PM2.5 to harmful effect.

Yet this finding doesn’t seem to have had any effect on regulators, who have informally made clear to industry groups that they still want to impose Tran’s rules even though they will bankrupt hundreds of small businesses that can’t afford expensive new engines or engine retrofits.

This isn’t right. Roberts’ spokesman said Friday that the supervisor plans to raise questions at a board meeting next week about the air board staff’s reaction to the contrary evidence. In disturbing ways, the reaction parallels the staff’s reaction to confirmation of Tran’s deceit and its decision to pursue a cover-up. It may be time for Telles and Roberts to give another lecture to Nichols on honesty and professionalism.


South Coast AQMD Permit Application Penalty "Holiday"

To help protect the region's business climate and clean air interests during current economic conditions, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has established a temporary permit application penalty holiday. This amnesty program is designed to provide most businesses an opportunity to obtain AQMD air quality permits without incurring late fees or violation penalties.

Some facilities, especially small businesses, may be unaware of the requirements for air pollution permits for their operations, and the potential penalties for failing to obtain those permits. If a business does not have all required air quality permits to construct or operate certain equipment, and it is being brought into compliance with applicable rules and regulations, AQMD will not seek penalties for violation of rules that require such permits. In addition, AQMD will waive the normal higher processing fee for failing to obtain a permit. Businesses that come into compliance at this time could see cost savings (depending on equipment type) ranging from $300 to over $5,000. The business, however, will be required to pay normal permit processing fees.

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Caltech is base for $20 million air quality study - the state's most comprehensive ever

Minute particles in the air register on computers inside a row of trailers that will remain on an empty lot at Caltech until mid-June.

Inside one of them, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist Bill Kuster points to a graph showing how carbon monoxide inches up in the morning.

"We see rush hours and stuff like that," Kuster said, pointing to a spot in the graph when a construction truck working on campus drives past.

Scientists from all over the country are flocking to California this month to conduct the largest study ever on the state's air quality.

To do it, they've launched a fleet of planes and a ship and have built two temporary measuring stations - one at Caltech and the other in the Central Valley. Caltech professor John Seinfeld called the project "the most comprehensive experiment aimed at understanding Los Angeles air quality ever conducted."

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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.

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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.

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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 emis sions.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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