Redding became the first city to ask the California Air Resources Board to delay pending diesel-truck emission regulations that one council member said would decimate the north state trucking industry and lead to higher prices and empty store shelves.
In a 5-0 vote, the Redding City Council directed Mayor Rick Bosetti to write to the state board and ask for a 10-year delay of the regulations currently set to begin in less than four months.
Without the delay, truck owners—including owner-operators in their big rigs, contractors, farmers and local governments—will be forced to abandon vehicles older than the 1996 model year and retrofit newer models with a $20,000 particulate filter or an engine manufactured in 2010 or later.
Betty Plowman, a truck driver from Vacaville with 24 years of experience and a north state representative for the California Construction Trucking Association, said CARB adopted the regulations in 2008, essentially mandating “that we would all have to buy new trucks” by 2014 despite a statewide economic slump.
A new truck costs $135,000 or more and a new dump truck would be in the $200,000 range, Plowman said. Those purchases would require a down payment of 30 to 35 percent and the used trucks would have no trade-in value. In short, it would be a big expense for a small operator.
“CARB gave money to the large national fleets (to help mitigate the costs), but they replace vehicles every couple of years. The big companies love this rule because it drives the little guy out,” Plowman said.
Delaying the new regulations would not impact Shasta County’s air quality and it would help small business owners find suitable vehicles or modify their existing equipment, according to Ross Bell, manager of the Shasta County Air Quality Management District.
“You don’t have an air pollution problem up here but you’re being penalized like you’re living in Los Angeles,” Plowman said.
“This will decimate our economy,” Councilman Gary Cadd said, adding that the $20,000 particulate matter filter “is a piece of junk” that is too temperature sensitive to be of use in slow-moving construction vehicles and prone to overheating in other uses.
Cadd added that he supports Greg Mann’s suggestion that the city assert its “coordination authority,” a process that requires federal agencies to work with local governments before implementing policies or plans that impact the local community. CARB would fall under that provision through the National Environmental Protection Act, Cadd said.
The city of Redding joins Shasta, Butte, Glenn and Colusa counties in writing to CARB and asking for more time.
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.