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California May Delay Diesel Rules

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) may delay its diesel pollution rules as a way to help construction and trucking industries that have been hurt by the recession, reports The Press-Enterprise. The decision comes after a discussion by the board that it may have overestimated the amount of diesel emissions from backhoes tractors, trucks and other vehicles. A decision will be made in September.

The regulations, adopted in 2007 and 2008, are designed to reduce the amount of diesel soot emitted by trucks and off-road vehicles. In December 2008, the air board approved diesel standards for trucks and buses, which are scheduled to take effect in 2011.

In December last year, a CARB member called for a review by independent researchers of the new diesel emissions rules for trucks and buses after learning that a researcher whose work contributed to the pollution standards in December 2008 falsified his credentials.

Henry Hog of the South Coast Air Quality Management District told The Press-Enterprise the rules are critical to helping the region meet a federal clean-air deadline in 2014.

In response, trucking companies and construction industry representatives said the rules have forced some companies out of business, while others have spent millions to retrofit or replace equipment.

In January, CARB and Port of Oakland truckers agreed to a last-minute deal that included additional funding to help the truckers comply with stricter requirements on diesel emissions that officially took effect on Jan. 1

In other CARB news, Navistar has withdrawn a lawsuit filed against CARB over the agency’s certification of 2010 SCR engines, reports Today’s Trucking.

Navistar decided to continue with EGR engines to meet 2010 NOx reduction levels, while its competitors shifted to SCR. The company said in a press release: “The [EPA] 2009 Guidance allows engines to operate for multiple and lengthy periods of time with the NOx emission control SCR Systems turned off, causing uncontrolled NOx to be discharged into the air.”

As part of its agreement with CARB, Navistar said that the agency agreed that the 2009 EPA guidance documents are not CARB’s own policy, and it will convene a public workshop this summer to address the issues Navistar raised in the lawsuit.

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