California votes to keep emissions regs

California voters on Nov. 2 solidly rejected Proposition 23, a ballot measure that would have suspended enforcement of the state’s program of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions until the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent or less for a year.

With more than 90 percent of the precincts reporting, 61 percent of voters opposed Proposition 23. In addition, the election of Democrat Jerry Brown to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a retreat on environmental regulation less likely.

If passed, Proposition 23 could have delayed enforcement of the regulation to reduce GHGs from certain heavy-duty tractors and trailers. That regulation will continue, as the California Air Resources Board is considering changes to the rules. CARB staff recently released its final proposal on changes, which the board is set to consider next month.

Proposed amendments reflect feedback from stakeholders on several issues, including the incompatibility of certain trailer configurations with existing verified aerodynamic devices, the unavailability of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay-verified retread tires and the need to move certain trailers from one location to another without having to meet the aerodynamic device and/or tire requirements.

In addition to addressing those issues, the amendments would propose flexibility in reporting and temporary short-term exemptions for specific circumstances involving storage trailers, transfer of ownership and moving local-haul trailers.