CARB Admits They WAY Overestimated Emissions on Off-Road Diesel Regs! BY: Phil Vermeulen, Legislative Advocate
Despite the fact that we warned the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that their regulations were going to make contractors' diesel equipment virtually worthless back in July of 2008, they went forward with adopting them. Sure enough, the prices of used offroad equipment went down faster than the Titanic! According to the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition (CIAQ), over 20,000 pieces of off-road diesel equipment have been sold at "fire sale" prices since then, "thanks" to the regs! Sure, you can argue that the construction industry is in a depression which helped to accelerate the exodus; however, the fact remains that, along with support staff there are probably 25,000 jobs that won't be coming back and I lay the majority of the blame on CARB and their regs! As bad as all of this is, "you ain't heard nothing, yet!" Read on! Our worst fears appear to have come true - CARB screwed up, big time, on their calculations about emissions from off-road diesel equipment! At the CARB Hearing April 22, 2010 the Board heard that the emissions from construction equipment have been vastly overstated and that the Off-Road Regulation must be changed to correct for this. In April, Sierra Research performed for the AGC an updated analysis of CARB's off-road emissions model and found that flawed fuel usage assumptions used in CARB modeling overestimates the emissions from the construction industry by almost three times, well below the emission targets laid out when the regulation was adopted. CARB staff acknowledged that they did indeed overestimate construction emissions, but believes the number is closer to 1.4 to 2 times. CARB staff also acknowledged that improved equipment inventory data shows that earlier estimates relied on equipment counts that were too high. At the hearing CARB staff also stated that changes to the On-Road Truck and Bus Regulation should also be made and that amendments to the off-road and truck rules should be considered simultaneously. Over the next couple of months CARB will continue to examine the inputs that led to the overestimation of emissions in their modeling and explore possible changes to both regulations. CARB's proposed timeline for upcoming amendments includes workshops in May on the emission inventory approach, data sources and methodologies. In June, CARB will hold workshops on draft proposed amendments and review preliminary inventories for rule assessments. In August final inventories for rule assessments will be released with staff's proposed changes. In September the Board will consider revisions to both the Off-Road and Truck and Bus Regulations. CARB staff shared that there is "Room for some relief for both regulations" and that they "Can still meet SIP (State Implementation Plan) commitments and protect public health." At this point it is safe to conclude that CARB staff will try to offer as little as possible to "fix" their emissions problem. For this reason CIAQC and the construction industry must insist that CARB get the numbers right and make appropriate changes to the regulations that are meaningful and reflect reality.
Here are two links to some of the media coverage on this subject: http://foxandhoundsdaily.com/blog/daniel-weintraub/6815-truck-rule-based-flawed-data-CARBstaff-admits http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iwTbTcan4fd0JSo9iEeso3PgGX8gD9F8DJ 781 (this article appears to have a typo as it incorrectly states that there are 200,000 fewer construction vehicles in California than the air board had initially thought - the actual number is closer to 20,000) Below is CARB's press release that followed the hearing and a notice with tentative dates in May for the first round of public workshops. ___________ CARB - listserv Notice - 4-22-10 - newsrel - CARB considers options for additional flexibility in diesel control regulations
Recognizing the economic climate CARB is seeking strategies to balance public health with the needs of a battered industry. Release 10-33 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 2010 Karen Caesar 626-575-6728 desk 626-818-0145 cell www.CARB.ca.gov CARB considers options for additional flexibility in diesel control regulations New relief for on-road and off-road engine rules to be considered at September hearing SACRAMENTO: The Air Resources Board today began the formal process to revise its strategy for the clean-up of on- and off-road diesel engines by directing staff to return in September with specific proposals to provide additional flexibility. "We fully recognize that the economy has had an effect on the owners and operators of big rigs, buses and construction equipment, and has also resulted in emissions from these vehicles being lower than we expected," said CARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "We are committed to taking those impacts into consideration for our diesel clean-up program."
"The direction by the Board today," added Nichols, "will result in additional flexibility to affected companies and individuals, while still continuing to achieve the significant air quality and health benefits these diesel controls will deliver." The Board has asked staff to draft changes to the regulations that will mitigate the potential effects of an unfavorable economy on affected businesses, while keeping in mind the need to protect public health, meet federal clean air deadlines, and continue moving forward even through uncertain times. The Board also directed staff to consider approaches to give credit to firms that have already complied with the regulations, and to examine the possibility of additional loans and incentive funding for the program. Staff presented an update on diesel emission estimates, and the approach for incorporating new information on diesel fuel use, emission factors and equipment use. A new emissions estimate will be used in the rule revision process. CARB staff will conduct a series of workshops in May and June in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Fresno with stakeholders and the public to solicit information about proposed revisions to the regulations that will be presented to the Board in September. CARB has already extended deadlines for off-road equipment owners through AB8 2X (signed by the Governor in February 2009), including delayed compliance and credits for those who have reduced their fleet size or operating hours in response to the recession. In addition, CARB will continue its program of financial support to help owners and operators of these trucks and equipment. Over $100 million in Proposition 1B funds alone have been allocated for cleaning up on-road diesel trucks through retrofits or replacement. Additional funds have been made available through the Carl Moyer Grant Program, along with loans via AB 118 and federal stimulus funds. Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 other known cancer-causing compounds. In 1998, California identified diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems. The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. CARB'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 CARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards. ##### ___________ CARB - listserv Notice - 4-23-10 - CARBcombo - SAVE THE DATE Public Workshops to Discuss Off-Road and Truck and Bus Inventories and Regulation Amendments
The Air Resources Board (CARB) staff invites you to plan to participate in a series of public workshops to discuss the emission inventory updates and proposed amendments for the Regulation for In-Use Off-Road Diesel Fueled Fleets (the off-road regulation) and the In-Use On-Road Diesel Vehicle Regulation (truck and bus regulation). These tentatively scheduled workshops (as noted below) will discuss updates to the off- and on-road emissions inventories used during the development of both regulations. Following the inventory discussion, there will also be a general discussion regarding modifications to the off-road and truck and bus regulations. Please note that these workshops are currently tentative, pending direction from the Board at CARB's April 22, 2010 Board Hearing in Sacramento. After the April 2010 Board Hearing, CARB staff will release a formal Public Workshop Notice that will detail the exact dates, locations, content, and times of each workshop. Additional information on content covered at each workshop will also be included in the Public Workshop Notice. TENTATIVE WORKSHOP DATES: May 6, 2010: Sacramento May 12, 2010: El Monte May 18, 2010: Fresno For general information on the off-road or truck and bus regulations, please contact CARB's Diesel Hotline at 866-6DIESEL (866-634-3735), or by email at 8666DIESEL@CARB.ca.gov.