California regulators are considering relaxing strict rules for smaller trucking fleets to clean up older diesel-powered trucks that are among the state’s worst remaining sources of air pollution, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The changes, being considered this week by the California Air Resources Board, come in response to pressure from small trucking firms and owner-operators who have pleaded for more time to comply with rules to install costly diesel particulate filters or upgrade to cleaner models, the Times reported April 21.
The proposal would push back deadlines by a few years for small fleets, lightly used trucks and those in rural areas with cleaner air. It also would offer other adjustments to assist truck owners, the Times said.
Officials say the changes would slow, but not sacrifice, the state’s progress on air quality and achieve 93% of pollution cuts envisioned through 2023, the newspaper reported.
The extensions are opposed by truckers who already have paid to replace their vehicles or retrofit them with soot filters that can cost $20,000 per truck. They say they will be undercut by small competitors who will be able to operate at a lower cost by delaying those purchases, the Times reported.
The rules apply to nearly all 1 million heavy-duty diesel trucks that operate in the state. The vehicles are one of the top sources of smog-forming gases called nitrogen oxides and tiny particles known as PM2.5, the paper reported.