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CARB set to vote on port truck plan

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http://www.etrucker.com/apps/news/article.asp?id=65172  

By CCJ Staff

Backing up tough actions taken by the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the California Air Resources Board on Friday, Dec. 7, enacted a strict air emissions measure that will ban much of the current fleet of diesel trucks from all ports statewide, the Los Angeles Times reported. CARB will require all trucks to meet 2007 emissions standards by 2014, an effort that mirrors a plan approved by the ports.

The regulation affects the roughly 20,000 truckers who frequent the state's six major ports and railyards. By the end of 2009, all trucks manufactured before 1994 -- a large portion of the current fleet -- will have to be replaced, and trucks will have to reduce diesel emissions by a total of 85 percent.

The board's regulations act as a backstop and complement to the L.A.-Long Beach port plans enacted in November, which require all trucks to meet 2007 emissions standards by 2012, two years earlier than the measures approved Friday by CARB. "Without the state regulation, they would just use these dirty trucks elsewhere in the state," Art Wong, a spokesman for the Port of Long Beach, told the Times.

Officials expect the regulation, along with another similar measure for shipping vessels, to cost more than $3 billion, and they have not determined how they will be funded. Those costs have sparked opposition from trucking and shipping interests.

The majority of port truckers are owner-operators who make about $30,000 to $40,000 a year, according to board studies. Those truckers say the companies that contract them should be responsible for the cleanliness of the fleet.

"I cannot purchase a new truck, I cannot afford a new filter for a retrofit," said Miguel Pineda, an independent trucker who testifed before the board in Spanish. He said most new trucks cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. "The trucker's situation is deplorable," Pineda said.

Meanwhile, trucking companies worry that the new regulations will spur unionization efforts and freight backups. At the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, officials in the next two weeks will consider adding a container fee to help pay for switching to a greener fleet.

"The cleanup effort needs to be borne by the polluters, but it will be ultimately passed on to the consumers, just like everything else is," S. David Freeman, president of the harbor commission, told the Times.