, Land Line staff writer
No state environmental body takes as much pride in its national and international influence as does the California Air Resources Board.
That power and influence, however, may be drawing some heat from the DC Beltway.
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, requested that the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit examine two CARB truck emission rules during a hearing. In a letter to Subcommittee Chairman John J. Duncan, R-TN, DeFazio asked Duncan to schedule a hearing to examine CARB’s On-Road Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicles (In-Use) regulation, and the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction regulation.
“I have heard from a constituent in my district who is concerned these new ARB rules unfairly apply to out-of-state truck drivers and motor carriers,” DeFazio wrote in the letter, dated March 28. “I believe a hearing presents an opportunity to understand these rules and to probe what effects rules put in place by one state mean for motor carriers based outside of that state, and what effects such rules could have on efficient transportation and goods movement on our nation’s highways.”
CARB’s Truck and Bus rule, also known as the Retrofit Rule, requires trucking fleets to install diesel particulate filters and upgrade their truck engines beginning in January 2012.
Beginning in 2013, 2010 and older tractors must begin using a combination of low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic products aimed at improving diesel efficiency to meet CARB’s Heavy Duty Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction (Smartway) regulation. All tractors and trailers must be compliant by 2020.
CARB isn’t the only regulatory agency drawing fire these days.
On March 16, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General confirmed in a memo it was following up on Sen. James Inhofe’s request to evaluate two committees that are powerful in the EPA regulatory process.
Inhofe, R-OK, had requested the EPA OIG to look into the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and the Advisory Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis.
“Our objective is to determine whether EPA has managed the (Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee) and (Advisory Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis) federal advisory committees in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and guidance pertaining to appearances of impartiality, balance of committee viewpoints and perspectives, rotation of members, potential conflicts of interest, and peer review,” the memo says.
According to the memo, Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and Advisory Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis review national ambient air quality standards for ozone, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. They also conduct peer review activity for studies conducted on diesel exhaust and other emissions.
Those reviews are important because they’re cited when regulatory bodies like CARB require expensive retrofits and engine replacements. They're also cited when governmental bodies at all levels argue for rules restricting truck idling.