The California Air Resources Board voted April 25 to amend some of its emissions regulations deadlines, giving owner-operators and small fleets who financially were unable to comply with the rule some compliance alternatives. The changes passed 11-1, though with some changes requested by the Board, and final versions of the amendments will be produced within the next few months.
The final versions of the amendments will have a 15-day public comment period, after which CARB will put them into effect.
The vote came a day after the Board heard more than five hours of impassioned testimony from fleet reps and owner-operators alike, with some speaking for the amendments and some speaking against. Click here to read full Overdrive coverage of the CARB hearings April 24.
The key changes include:
Loan denial extension: The Board voted to allow truck owners of three or fewer trucks who were denied an upgrade loan to run their truck as-is — without a filter — if they make a commitment to buy a new truck by December 2016 or have a particulate matter filter installed by December 2016.
This is different from the original proposal, which was crafted to allow such owners to run non-compliant until Jan. 1, 2018, if they committed to buying a new truck — it did not include the PM filter commitment option.
The Board said it was swayed to shorten the time based on testimony and written comment from truck owners who did comply, saying they invested thousands if not millions of dollars in bringing their equipment to compliance.
There was also much concern from stakeholders about truck owners using the loan denial excuse as a means to avoid compliance, even if they hadn’t been denied. Board members agreed that the amendment needs to include certain safeguards to prevent fraud, such as having truck owners produce documents, use certain types of lenders, and sign documents under penalty of perjury attesting to their loan denial.
NOx-exempt counties extension, expansion: The amendments include a provision to delay the particulate matter filter retrofit deadline for trucks running only in NOx-exempt counties to Jan. 1, 2015 — delayed from the previous Jan. 1, 2014, deadline. They also include an expansion of the NOx-exempt areas, adding some counties to list (see the map above to see which counties were added).
Expanded credits: The changes will push back the date at which truck owners must replace an older truck with a 2010 or later year model truck and engine to 2023, from 2020, if they installed a PM filter on a truck with an ’06 year model engine by the Jan. 1, 2014, deadline.
Extended phase-in deadlines for small fleets: Truck owners with three or fewer trucks now have an extra year to bring their second truck into compliance and an extra two years for their third truck, as the Board extended the phase-in deadlines for second and third trucks from Jan. 1, 2015, and Jan. 1, 2016, to Jan. 1, 2016, and Jan. 1, 2018, respectively.
With these deadline extensions, the Board said it could look into trying to secure more funds and distribute grant money to help owners comply — another change to the original proposed amendments.
Low-use exemption changes: The low-use exemption requirements now include trucks that travel fewer than 5,000 miles in a year total, in California or otherwise, in addition to those that run 1,000 miles or fewer in California.