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ARB joins feds, ports and air districts to beef up enforcement of clean diesel regulations
SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has teamed up with local and federal agencies to significantly increase enforcement of California’s Heavy-Duty Diesel regulations statewide. These partnerships leverage ARB’s ability to bring vehicles that are operating illegally into compliance and level the playing field for those that have already met requirements.
ARB currently has extended agreements with various local air districts and ports to enforce its diesel-related regulations. Through these partnerships, air districts can write citations for noncompliant vehicles and equipment subject to various diesel regulations, helping support extensive enforcement of the truck and bus regulation. ARB also recently developed an agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency for enforcement of rules for drayage trucks and aftermarket parts.
Although partnering districts typically refer violations to ARB for settlement, the district can also issue a citation immediately without waiting for inspectors from ARB to respond. This is particularly useful when the district receives a complaint from a member of the public who has observed a violation.
“Giving districts the ability to write citations on the spot, whether it’s based on a tip or during a routine inspection, really helps us identify violators and get them into compliance right away,” said Paul E. Jacobs, Enforcement Branch Chief at the Air Resources Board. “We can’t be everywhere at once, so by empowering local agencies, heavy-duty diesel rules that protect public health can be enforced more effectively.”
Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and more than 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.
The U.S. EPA also works with ARB to enforce its Truck and Bus and Drayage Truck regulations under authority of the federal Clean Air Act. In addition to conducting their own investigations and audits, U.S. EPA also assists ARB in joint investigations and audits to help enforce the rules and create a level playing field for all trucks that operate in California. In turn, ARB works closely with U.S. EPA to ensure consistent enforcement. U.S. EPA also works closely on cases involving illegal aftermarket parts used by diesel powered vehicle owners to gain horsepower. These parts significantly increase emissions and can lead to engine damage and manufacturers’ warranties being voided.
While local and federal enforcement partnerships help leverage ARB’s compliance efforts, ARB’s enforcement teams continue to keep the pressure on throughout the state. This involves a variety of enforcement efforts including multi-agency strike forces, roadside inspections with California Highway Patrol, joint inspections with authorities at selected ports, and random inspections at truck stops and rest areas.
ARB conducts investigations and fleet audits based on tips from the public, from air districts, and from compliant fleets reporting non-compliant competitors to ARB’s Complaint Hotline (1-800-END-SMOG).
Citations issued by ARB can result in substantial penalties. Monies collected go to the State Treasurer for deposit into the California Air Pollution Control Fund which provides funding for projects and research to improve California's air quality.
In some cases, companies can also place up to 25 percent of the total penalties into a Supplemental Environmental Project. This could fund, for example, the clean-up of school buses through adding diesel particulate filter retrofits, new engines or new buses. Monies used for school bus retrofits are administered by the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association and are distributed statewide with priority given to small districts with the greatest financial need.
Supplemental Environmental Projects also help fund emissions compliance education classes at participating community colleges administered by the California Council for Diesel Education and Technology program. http://www.arb.ca.gov/enf/hdvip/ccdet/ccdet.htm.
For information about how to stay in compliance with ARB’s heavy-duty diesel regulations, visit ARB’s TruckStop website at www.arb.ca.gov/truckstop.
To contact ARB’s Complaint Hotline call: 1-800-END-SMOG. (1-800-363-7664).
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.