The California Air Resources Board voted April 25 to amend some of its emissions regulations deadlines, giving new alternatives to owner-operators and small fleets who were unable financially to comply with the original rule. The amendments passed 11-1, though with some additional changes requested by the Board.
Final versions of the amendments will be produced within the next few months and will have a 15-day public comment period, after which CARB will put them into effect.
The vote came a day after the Board heard more than five hours of impassioned testimony from fleet reps and owner-operators alike, with some speaking for the amendments and some speaking against. Click here to read full CCJ coverage of the CARB hearings April 24.
The key changes implemented by the amendments include:
Loan denial extension: For owners of three or fewer trucks who were denied a loan, the Board voted to allow operation of those trucks as-is — without a filter — if the owners make a commitment to buy a new truck by December 2016 or have a particulate matter filter installed, also by December 2016.
This differs from the original proposal, which would have allowed them to run non-compliant until Jan. 1, 2018, if they committed to buying a new truck and did not include the PM filter commitment option.
The Board said it was swayed to shorten that time based on testimony and written comment from truck owners who did comply, saying they invested thousands if not millions of dollars in bringing their equipment to compliance.
Many stakeholders also voiced concerns about truck owners using the loan denial excuse as a means to avoid compliance, even if they hadn’t been denied. Board members agreed the amendment needs to include certain safeguards to prevent fraud: Truck owners will now be required produce supporting documents, use certain types of lenders and sign documents under penalty of perjury attesting to their loan denial.
NOx exempt counties extension, expansion: The amendments include a provision to delay the particulate matter filter retrofit deadline for trucks running only in NOx exempt counties to Jan. 1, 2015 — extending the previous Jan. 1, 2014, deadline. They also include an expansion of the NOx exempt areas, adding some counties to list (see the map above).