CARB’s Final Proposed Amendments And the Winners and Losers!

By Lee Brown – Executive Director

Winners and Losers and Prop B1 Funds, that’s pretty much the theme of this issue of the magazine. Maybe a “divide and conquer” theme could have worked too; it’s clearly part of the challenge we now face as an industry and association. Read the thoughtful debate by two members on this exact issue on page 9 CTN March/April 2014 issue.

While those that have or are in compliance want the playing field leveled and believe that trucking rates would dramatically rise if and when that happens, on the other side are those who are not in compliance or many that are and get it all, yet want’s to see our lawsuit presently in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded with a win. There are no easy answers here.

I think we are all feeling a little CARB fatigue these days. I hate to say it, but we have been involved with EPA and CARB regulations since the 1999 Engine Manufacturer’s Consent Degree with EPA and CARB. We have been the only trucking association that has consistently said that the regulations were built on a foundation of scientific deception and fraud. It has been thoughtlessly implemented and recklessly enforced. All of which was considered when we decided to sue CARB in 2011 to stop the abuses.

For those of you who believe these equipment up-grade requirements are over, you’re very wrong. Make no mistake CARB and the EPA have no intentions of ever saying the air is clean or even clean enough. Their survival and many other groups like the NRDC, ALA, ACS and seemingly dozens of other not-for-profits depends on the illusions of dirty air. As air quality researcher Joel Schwartz wrote in 2006, “Not surprisingly, no matter how clean the air, the EPA (and organizations like CARB) continues to find unacceptable risks. The EPA and state regulators’ powers and budgets, as well as those of environmentalist, depend on a continued public perception that there is a serious problem to solve. Yet regulators are also major financial contributors of the health research intended to demonstrate the need for more regulation. They also provide millions of dollars a year to environmental groups, which use the money to augment public fear of pollution and seek increases in regulators’ powers. These conflicts of interest largely explain the ubiquitous exaggeration of air pollution levels and risks, even as air quality has steadily improved.”
We suspect as time moves forward we will see more members move to the other side of the aisle on this issue and what was popular three years ago, to sue CARB, will be less appreciated even though we all know CARB’s intentions are to get rid of even new clean diesel trucks, this is a fact!

On page 20 (CTN Magazine March/April 2014), Joe actually drafted a story he notes, CARB has released what is termed its “Scoping plan” which is a fancy way of saying the agency is telegraphing its future steps in regulating diesel powered equipment. Developing a “Scoping plan” is the first step in a process for CARB to eventually include its radical environmental goals in California’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) filed with the U.S. EPA. The CCTA has often said that CARB would never declare “victory” and go away. The zealot bureaucrats that staff the agency need to find more “boogie men” to attack and blame for “climate change” and extend their control over the economy.”

He concludes by saying, “The Scoping plan states, “In short, the freight sector must become a system that is efficient, reliable, clean, and low-carbon.” And to achieve that goal CARB believes, “…over the long-term California must transition from a diesel dependent system into one with significant numbers of zero and near-zero emission engines for trucks…” CARB envisions mandating rules on truck owners operating in “urban fleet applications” which they explain means mandating natural gas powered and hybrid electric trucks.

So, make no mistake, within six years, we will see this all happen again and it needs to be halted. Our lawsuit is the best opportunity to do this and that’s why the management of this association decided to take this path…….and should continue to do so.

It’s also important to remember that we are not a one-issue association but a business partner on many levels. We are constantly involved with government with name’s like the DIR, CHP, DOT, DMV and a host of other acronyms that affect your businesses. CARB is just one of many that occupy our time and efforts – believe me. We speak of them every month, just some more than others.