Court upholds California big rig and bus rule: Cleaner air forthcoming

The Public Policy Institute of California in its report: “Planning for a Better Future: California 2025: 2010 Update (Transportation),” revealed based on California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board data, in California in 1975, and within the transportation sector, smog-forming emissions generated via passenger vehicles accounted for a full 70 percent with the remainder being released from heavy duty vehicles, off-road vehicles and other mobile sources. By 2006 it was an altogether different story as the lion’s share of state transportation-sector-released smog-forming emissions – 75 percent – were coming from the latter group – heavy-duty vehicles, off-road vehicles and that contributed from other mobile sources.

Soybeanbus[1]In 2006, whereas passenger vehicles accounted for roughly 25 percent of all smog-forming pollution contributed from state transportation modes, and about 40 percent was the off-road and other mobile sources category share, approximately 35 percent was released from the heavy-duty on-road modes – mostly buses and trucks.

Trucks and buses experienced the highest percentage increase in state smog-forming emissions from all transportation sources for 1975 versus 2006, elevating from roughly eight percent in 1975 to about 35 percent in 2006 or an increase of approximately 27 percent. The only category during that time to produce a smaller percentage of smog-forming emissions was passenger vehicles. Regarding said emissions, off-road and other mobile sources rose around 22 percent.

That California’s transportation sector has undergone this kind of transformation in a little over three decades, if nothing else, this deserved attention and consideration and, as such, such has been paid.

Melissa Lin Perrella, a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) attorney based in Santa Monica, in “Starting the New Year With Good News: California’s Truck and Bus Rule Wins in Court,” wrote, “On December 19, 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a lawsuit that sought to invalidate California’s Truck and Bus Rule. ….The Rule reduces air pollution from 1 million aging diesel trucks and buses by requiring vehicle retrofits and accelerated vehicle turnover. The result is that cleaner, less polluting vehicles will operate on California’s roadways.”

A similar rule relating to large sea-faring ships heading into and out of California seaports having to switch to cleaner-burning fuel when operating within a distance of 24 nautical miles of shore was upheld in a federal court, the decision, itself, being handed down on Nov. 16, 2012.

There are known health impacts associated with the inhalation of particulate matter from diesel exhaust. These include: increased risk of asthma, heart disease and premature death.

Ultimately, “This Rule will clean up the largest mobile source of particulate matter and smog-forming oxides of nitrogen in the state, and prevent approximately 3,500 premature deaths along the way,” Lin Perrella emphasized.

Published by Alan Kandel