CARB to consider more flexible Truck and Bus Rule

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California FlagThe California Air Resources Board on Wednesday, Dec. 9, directed its staff to return to the board next April with a new provision that would provide truck fleets more flexibility in cleaning up their diesel emissions under the state’s Truck and Bus Rule that was adopted last December, in light of the recession’s effect on the industry.

CARB says its staff demonstrated that the down economy has reduced the amount of time trucks have operated, thus reducing harmful diesel emissions that would have occurred during normal economic times.

The board also directed staff to withdraw and redo the health report that carried Hien Tran’s name since it was learned last year that he falsely claimed he held a Ph.D. in statistics from the University of California-Davis. The implementation of the rule will continue to be carried out during this period. The board also neglected to second a motion by board member John Telles, who wanted to repeal the diesel rule after learning of a Tran’s misconduct.

“With today’s set of actions, we confidently set out to revalidate the science supporting our rules and set up a process to allow for more flexibility for small businesses in the regulation given the down economy,” says Mary Nichols, CARB chairman. “We take the employee misconduct very seriously, but it should not affect an extremely important public health measure that has been extensively reviewed throughout the scientific community. We have tightened up our procedures to ensure an incident like this never happens again.”

CARB passed the Truck and Bus Rule last December that requires truck owners to install diesel exhaust filters on their rigs by Jan. 1, 2011, with nearly all vehicles upgraded by 2014. The regulation is estimated to prevent 9,400 premature deaths over its lifetime. For more information on CARB’s Truck and Bus Rule, click here.

To reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality and public health, CARB adopted a Diesel Risk Reduction Plan in 2000 and already has passed regulations addressing urban buses, garbage trucks, school bus and truck idling, stationary engines, transport refrigeration units, cargo handling equipment at ports and rail yards, offroad vehicles, port trucks and other sources.