But, after years of dire warnings from industry organizations and mere days before this past March’s compliance deadline for large fleets, CARB suddenly appeared to ease off.
[Reacting to] the loss of 364,000 in-state construction jobs in the past four years, AGC proposes a two-year delay to California’s in-use off-road diesel-fueled fleet regulation.
“Over the last several years, the construction industry has felt the sting of the faltering economy with reduced activity and idled off-road equipment. This has made it difficult for contractors to pay for required clean-air upgrades to their fleets. Along with this reduced construction activity has been a corresponding reduction in construction activity,” Goldstene announced Feb. 11. “Because of this, ahead of a March 1, 2010 compliance deadline, (C)ARB will issue an enforcement advisory to notify all stakeholders affected by the off-road equipment regulation that effective immediately, and until further notice, no enforcement action will be taken for non-compliance.”
It was, in the words of Southern California Contractors Association executive director Bill Davis, a “scammy little” press release. “The truth is that they don’t have enforcement authority under the Clean Air Act without a (federal) EPA waiver,” he said. “They also suspended enforcement of a portable (equipment) regulation that was going to take place this past year for the same reason.”
Heroy-Rogalski confirmed federal EPA authorization is required before CARB can enforce the performance requirements of the off-road regulation, including requirements to retrofit or turn over vehicles, as well as restrictions on adding lower-tier machines. Would-be penalties for failing to comply with the performance requirements are covered under various sections of the California Health and Safety Code, including fines up to $10,000 and $500 respectively per vehicle per day for PM and NOx violations.
During the March 11 hearing, the conciliatory tone of the AGC presentation was matched by Goldstene, CARB’s top staffer, who cordially welcomed speaker after speaker, patiently allowing them to share their stories, vent their frustrations and make their suggestions. With one exception, that being the second appearance by a company marketing a new catalytic product, no presenters were cut off. v
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