Letters to the Editor: CARB Reefer Rules, Old Trucks, Tires & Environment

These Letters to the Editor appear in the Dec. 24-31 print edition of Transport Topics.
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CARB, Reefer Rules

Regarding your op-ed, “Dealing with California’s Reefer Rules” (12-10, p. 7), American Trucking Associations commends the efforts of the California Air Resources Board to conduct national outreach for the first time on its state regulation that will affect the nation’s refrigerated carriers.

However, what the author failed to mention is that CARB cannot implement its transport refrigeration unit (TRU) regulation unless the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants a preemption waiver in accordance with the federal Clean Air Act. While California applied for this waiver nearly two years ago, a decision on the waiver is still pending.

During a January 2006 EPA hearing, ATA and member companies vigorously opposed granting this waiver and provided EPA with extensive documentation of the adverse effects the regulation will have on the nation’s trucking industry.

A principal issue raised by ATA is the regulation’s enormous extraterritorial reach. ATA believes CARB’s assumption that only 7,500 out-of-state TRUs will be affected severely underestimates the impact of this regulation. Studies conducted and submitted into the record by ATA indicate that more than 300,000 out-of-state TRUs are likely to be affected over the life of the regulation.

Another primary concern is the regulation’s technology-forcing nature aimed at users rather than manufacturers. ATA has argued that the limited availability of TRU retrofits will result in carriers being forced to scrap older equipment.
It appears this concern is beginning to play out, as only two retrofit technologies have been approved by CARB to date, with both costing much more than originally predicted.

Unfortunately, fleet operators do not have the luxury of waiting for EPA and must develop compliance plans in the absence of a decision on the waiver. With the first major compliance deadline taking effect at the end of 2008, time is running short.

While CARB cites financial assistance is available to help ensure compliance, most operators remain ineligible, because this assistance is available only for equipment that operates 75% of the time in California.

ATA will notify its members once EPA’s decision on the waiver is announced and intends to pursue legal options to protect the interests of the nation’s refrigerated carriers should the waiver be granted.

Because the results of ATA’s challenge to the waiver and any related litigation are uncertain, motor carriers should begin carefully considering compliance options and strategies for meeting, if needed, the 2008 year-end deadline. ATA will provide periodic updates on the status of these issues to assist carriers in making any needed preparations.

Richard Holcomb
General Counsel & Senior Vice President
Law and Regulatory Affairs
American Trucking Associations
Arlington, Va.

Banning Old Trucks

Do you think the ships might be adding to the emission problem a little, while they are sitting in port? I really hope California doesn’t shoot itself in the foot on this one (12-17, p. 5).

I already know drivers who are turning down California loads because of this type of thinking. They all are saying things like, “Let California come to Arizona and pick up their freight.”

John Nettles
Nettles Bros. Transportation

Tires, Environment

The editorial headlined “Embracing Environmental Issues” in the Nov. 19 issue of Transport Topics (p. 4) struck a chord with us, because the retread industry has been providing environmentally friendly products to the trucking industry for a long time.

Every time a truck tire is retreaded, approximately 15 gallons of oil are saved, because tires contain a large amount of synthetic rubber, which is petroleum-based. In addition, every tire that is retreaded is one less tire that has to be sent to our already overcrowded landfills.

As long as the number of tires retreaded every year remains constant or grows, the number of tires kept from landfills will remain the same forever.
Retreading allows a trucker to do well while doing good. Although a retreaded tire may look round and black, it is really very green.

Harvey Brodsky
Managing Director
Tire Retread & Repair
Information Bureau
Pacific Grove, Calif.