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How the Air Resources Board in California works

By on July 1, 2015

Emissions regulations for trucks are tougher in California, but often signal what’s to come nationwide. Elizabeth White, the state’s Air Resources Board’s (ARB) manager of On-Road Compliance Assistance Section, Heavy Duty Diesel Implementation Branch, offers insight into how the agency makes decisions regarding trucking.

Q What is ARB’s purpose and how does trucking fit into its goals?

A To promote and protect public health and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering the effects on the economy of the state. The Truck and Bus regulation provides substantial emissions reductions which are necessary to meet state and federal air quality standards, reduce premature deaths and reduce exposure to diesel particulate matter (soot) to meet the goals established in California’s Diesel Risk Reduction Plan.

Q How are decisions about regulations on big rig trucks made?

A The Board must always consider the environmental and economic impacts of any proposed regulations or amendments to existing regulations.

Q How do you get input from trucking companies and owner operators when new standards are being considered?

A During the development of a proposed regulation, staff continuously notifies affected industry and other interested parties and solicits input. For example, when the Truck and Bus regulation was first developed, ARB launched a multi-year campaign to stimulate discussion and solicit input, consisting of 54 public workshops in 12 different cities across the state. ARB representatives also held over 100 meetings with individual companies and organizations to discuss the proposed regulation.

In addition, staff traveled to out of- state locations to discuss and present the proposed regulation to fleet owners that travel through California. A mailing was also sent to nearly 300,000 owners of registered diesel vehicles in California notifying them of the proposed regulation, how to participate in an online survey and how to obtain additional information about the proposal. ARB sent similar information via letters to diesel vehicle business owners in California, truckstops and repair facilities throughout the western United States. Finally, staff called and sent emails and letters to as many industry associations as could be identified which might have members affected by the proposed regulation.

Q If a trucker has feedback about ARB requirements, how can they best get heard?

A The outreach program is constantly striving to increase collaborations and form new partnerships since many of the diesel fleet regulations have annual deadlines continuing through 2023. The 1-866-6DIESEL hotline is not just a channel for informing the public about how to achieve full compliance with ARB’s suite of diesel regulations, but also a way for truckers to provide feedback. If a caller wishes to have their comments elevated to management, they simply need to ask the staff to forward their feedback to the manager of the On-Road Compliance Assistance Section.

Q What is ARB doing to strengthen communication with those in the trucking industry?

A ARB staff meets regularly with fleet owners, trade groups and industry organizations. Industries represented include agricultural, tow trucks, construction, logging and general trucking associations, such as the California Trucking Association. At the request of industry and trade associations, staff has presented information and provided compliance assistance at business events and technical forums. ARB has also provided numerous training courses to fleet owners to provide guidance on compliance with diesel equipment regulations throughout the state and in a webinar format. From 2012 to 2014, staff conducted 400 classes to train over 13,000 attendees. Classes have been held in California and at more than 20 out-of-state locations and Mexico. Webinars are offered routinely on topics of current interest.

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