The Never Ending Story

At this time of year people reflect on what they should have done and what they will do in the New Year, so let’s look at what is and what is likely to come along.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has given final approval to their Truck and Bus Rule, which is now the law unless they decide to do something else, always a possibility.
This means is there are no reprieves, no pardons and no excuses. CARB will be cruising the truck scales and setting up roadside stops with the approval and assistance of the CHP.

Local air districts will also deploy their enforcement officers in search of non-compliant vehicle owners. Those of you who have trucks subject to BIT inspection must have all your documentation handy and current. The local air districts keep the fines collected within the district and CARB share the penalties; in either case they are incentivized.

The Portable Engine Rule is also in place and covers all portable equipment diesel engines in excess of 50 horsepower with the same enforcement and same ugly consequences.

If you are subject to these rules you not only must pay fines but you cannot operate that engine until you are compliant. Most government-funded projects require only compliant engines on site and will be visited by enforcement. Many private owners are also requiring compliant equipment. In short, there is no more hiding under the covers.

Lawsuits’ Murky Future

For the future there are a number of lawsuits working through the courts, but the process is slow and a favorable outcome far from certain. Both sides can and in most cases will appeal so don’t get excited if we win one.

I recently became aware that the Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) brought a suit. They claimed CARB was exceeding their authority and while the EMA lost but it was interesting to me that they even filed suit. They may have become aware that CARB is not helpful to the EMA long-term business with never-ending requirements and not enough time to assure reliability and safety.

Water Woes Continue

Most of us who have become accustomed to regular bathing and washing have heard of the California drought. As I write this some rain has come and more is expected, that’s the good news. The problem is that we are over 60 percent short; we need more water for current needs and even more to refresh our reserves, a word unknown to our political class except for campaign funds.

We passed a water bond that has some funding to build storage and other water projects, which would provide work for our industry, which is good, but the main point is that this next year we will be scrutinized and watched on water use.

We need to be proactive. Water shortages may dictate concrete production and washing of pumps may require some education by us to the community. A charm offensive could go a long way to staying busy.

The 45-Minute Rule

One thing I have learned is that concrete pumpers think in 45-minute blocks, after that there are almost no good options. That mindset is just the way it is; comes from working with concrete, preferably fluid.

The rest of the world could benefit from this method in many cases. If those of us regulated got involved early, with vigor and without delay much of the ugly results we get could be stopped before they had a chance to plug up. That is what we must do this coming year because the government never ends.