The California Air Resources Board has unveiled a revised draft regulation that would require the estimated 420,000 privately owned diesel trucks and buses to retrofit beginning in 2012.
The proposed regulation ensures that beginning in 2012, all trucks must be 2010 models or newer. It also calls for truckers to retrofit pre-2007 model year trucks with soot filters. The draft is currently being reviewed and will be voted on this October.
"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 CARB 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."
CARB estimates that diesel truck emissions would cause 11,000 premature deaths between 2010 and 2020, while the total economic benefit of eliminating those deaths is estimated to be between $70 billion and $89 billion.
The board announced that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget has allocated an additional $48 million to CARB to help low-income truckers comply with diesel emissions regulations. According to CARB, AB118 and the previously allocated Proposition 1B will help pay for engine retrofits and replacements that will be required in 2010.
"This money will help truckers in the state, many of whom are struggling financially, to retrofit and replace engines to help all of us breathe easier," said Nichols. "We appreciate the Governor's and Legislature's support on this crucial public health issue."
CARB said it will work with the California Treasurers Office to use the funds for low interest loans to help truckers install the soot filtration devices and replace older engines, as well as add devices such as side skirts and wider tires that reduce aerodynamic drag.
"Sierra Club California supports the administration's proposal to use $50 million in available air-quality funds for loans to help low-income truckers achieve early compliance with upcoming requirements to reduce toxic diesel emissions," said Bill Magavern, director of Sierra Club California. "This proposal provides a creative solution that will benefit Californians' health and our economy."
According to CARB, the proposed regulation is the latest in a series of regulations to reduce health risks--covering cargo handling equipment, transport refrigeration units, truck idling, off-road construction equipment, harbor craft, ship auxiliary engines, port drayage trucks and ships-at-berth.