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Monday, May 12, 2008

ARB proposes new rule to clean up state trucks, buses

Diesel emissions from freeway trucks are major contributors to
poor air quality

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board unveiled a revised draft
regulation this week that will require retrofits and engine
replacements for the estimated privately owned 300,000 diesel
trucks and buses transiting California roadways beginning in

Staff re-worked an earlier version of the draft regulation to
eliminate the need for truckers to replace two trucks in a
nine-year span, instead relying more heavily on retrofits for
the first two years of the regulation. The revised proposal has
a lower cost while preserving important public health benefits.
The proposed regulation now calls for truckers to retrofit
pre-2007 model year trucks with soot filters and then requires a
gradual modernization of trucks beginning in 2012, so that
ultimately all trucks are the cleanest, 2010 or newer models.

This draft regulation addresses the largest unregulated source
of diesel emissions in the state. Between 2010 and 2020, ARB
estimates that the regulation will prevent 11,000 premature
deaths associated with exposure to diesel exhaust, and save
roughly $500 million in health care costs during that same

"If passed by the Board later this year, this regulation will
save thousands of lives and help the hundreds of thousands more
who suffer from asthma and other respiratory ailments," said ARB
Chairman Mary Nichols. "While we are sensitive to the economic
impacts this measure poses to truckers, the public health
benefits are far too great not to move forward."

This regulation is projected to cost the trucking industry
somewhere between $3.6 to $5.5 billion from 2010 to 2021, which
ARB staff estimates will add less than a penny apiece to
products hauled by these trucks that people buy, ranging from
athletic shoes to television sets. ARB is in the midst of
allocating $1 billion in Proposition 1B funds, much of which
will go toward helping truckers retrofit and replace trucks.
Other entities, including the U.S. EPA and several California
ports are offering financial assistance.

Emissions from diesel particulate matter are associated with
causing a variety of health effects including premature death
and a number of heart and lung diseases. A recent study looking
at the health impacts to West Oakland residents posed by diesel
emissions estimates the yearly non-cancer health impacts
resulting from exposure to port-related diesel particulate
matter emissions in the area: 18 premature deaths (age 30 and
older), 290 asthma attacks, 2,600 days of work loss, and 15,000
minor restricted activity episodes. Most of the risk comes from
diesel particulate matter emissions from trucks traveling on
nearby freeways and marine vessel traffic in the San Francisco
Bay Area unrelated to the Port of Oakland.

ARB has put in place stringent regulations to curb the health
risk to Californians. The most recent adopted regulations to
limit diesel emissions affect cargo handling equipment,
transport refrigeration units, truck idling, off-road
construction equipment, harbor craft, ship auxiliary engines,
port drayage trucks and ships-at-berth. Also, the introduction
of cleaner fuel for railroads and ships has contributed to lower
pollution around the ports and rail yards.

Later this year, ARB will also consider adopting another
proposed regulation involving ocean-going vessel main engines to
further reduce diesel soot. State control measures will
contribute to an approximate decrease of 80 percent in harmful
emissions by 2015.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. 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.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every
Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy
consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and
cut your energy cost, see our web site at

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