California EPA Regulation Puts Trucking Companies Out of Business

Regulations, coming from the California Air Resources Board are knocking hard on the door of small and independent trucking companies in California. On December 12, 2008, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the Truck and Bus regulation to significantly reduce particulate matter (PM) and oxides of nitrogen emissions from existing diesel vehicles operating in California. This was part of a national program, established by the EPA in 2001, called the Clean Diesel Truck and Bus Program

These specific California regulations, enforced at the start of this year, require trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds to install PM retrofits to reduce emissions. By January 1, 2015 older trucks will need to be replaced with newer engine models, which release less PM and oxides into the air. Trucks weighing 14,000 pounds to 26,000 pounds will be forced to install PM retrofits by January 1, 2015. By 2020 older trucks will need to be replaced with newer engine models and by 2023 all trucks will be required to have 2010 engine models. Specific details on replacing engine models as well as provisions for credits and exemptions can be found here.  

The cost of CARB regulation is an overwhelming burden for businesses, especially small businesses. According to the California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA), the new PM retrofits (including the filter, back pressure monitor, installation and warranty) costs anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. California EPA

The cost of newer, cleaner trucks will start at $50,000 a piece and then increase in price based on the specific model purchased. Fox News report.  

This regulation initially will cost each individual trucker a minimum of $60,000 to $70,000. According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2011, Californian truckers earned an average salary of $41,990

The point being made here is obvious. The CARB regulation in California is costing truckers well over a year’s wage. Small trucking companies and independent truckers can’t possibly afford to stay in business if these regulations stand. 

Why would CARB do this? Doesn’t it know the effects of its own regulation on the little man? The answer is simply no, it doesn’t. Four small trucking companies including California Dump Truck Owners Association, the Southern California Contractors Association Inc., Dalton Trucking Inc. and Delta Construction Co. Inc. filed suit against the EPA in November of last year for this very reason. The companies were excluded from the negotiating table between trucking companies and the EPA. Not only did the EPA not include small trucking companies, it did not submit regulations to its Science Advisory Board (SAB), a panel established by Congress that reviews Clean Air Act changes. The Science Advisory Board includes scientists nominated from academia, industry and other research organizations.

The Science Advisory Board is a vital part of the process in creating environmental regulation that is efficient and effective rather than wasteful. A major role of SAB’s job is to make sure new regulation is scientifically sound and economically workable for businesses. When the EPA oversteps the SAB, it sends the message to states and businesses that its own agenda is more important than common sense regulation that keeps our environment healthy. SAB’s mission.  

By increasing expenses for small and independent trucking companies, the cost of the CARB regulation in California is placed on consumers. An increase in shipping costs means an increase in prices on basic goods and products including food. An even greater cost of CARB regulation is job loss. This is what Norman R. Brown, an owner of a small trucking company in California, had to say about the regulation. “My business has already been crushed by the dismal economy and merciless regulatory climate in California. “With these regulations in place, my four heavy-duty vehicles could be declared obsolete, and there will be no hope my employees could get back to work.”

CARB regulation, under the California EPA, is not only increasing the cost of all goods shipped across the state, it is also killing jobs so hard to find in America’s current economic climate. This specific regulation involving trucking companies was enforced without the scientific and economic advice of the Scientific Advisory Board. This is just one of many examples in which the EPA has shown itself to be an out of control government agency that must be held more accountable by Washington and by the American people. 

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