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ARB considers options for additional flexibility in diesel control regulations
New relief for on-road and off-road engine rules to be considered at September hearing
Sacramento - The Air Resources Board today began the formal process to revise its strategy for the clean-up of on- and off-road diesel engines by directing staff to return in September with specific proposals to provide additional flexibility.
“We fully recognize that the economy has had an effect on the owners and operators of big rigs, buses and construction equipment, and has also resulted in emissions from these vehicles being lower than we expected,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. ”We are committed to taking those impacts into consideration for our diesel clean-up program.”
“The direction by the Board today,” added Nichols, “will result in additional flexibility to affected companies and individuals, while still continuing to achieve the significant air quality and health benefits these diesel controls will deliver.”
The Board has asked staff to draft changes to the regulations that will mitigate the potential effects of an unfavorable economy on affected businesses, while keeping in mind the need to protect public health, meet federal clean air deadlines, and continue moving forward even through uncertain times. The Board also directed staff to consider approaches to give credit to firms that have already complied with the regulations, and to examine the possibility of additional loans and incentive funding for the program.
Staff presented an update on diesel emission estimates, and the approach for incorporating new information on diesel fuel use, emission factors and equipment use. A new emissions estimate will be used in the rule revision process.
ARB staff will conduct a series of workshops in May and June in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Fresno with stakeholders and the public to solicit information about proposed revisions to the regulations that will be presented to the Board in September.
ARB has already extended deadlines for off-road equipment owners through AB8 2X (signed by the Governor in February 2009), including delayed compliance and credits for those who have reduced their fleet size or operating hours in response to the recession.
In addition, ARB will continue its program of financial support to help owners and operators of these trucks and equipment. Over $100 million in Proposition 1B funds alone have been allocated for cleaning up on-road diesel trucks through retrofits or replacement. Additional funds have been made available through the Carl Moyer Grant Program, along with loans via AB 118 and federal stimulus funds.
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems.
ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.