Legislators recently took aim at diesel trucks with a series of bills that would impact the cost of goods across California. Billed as “Ditching Dirty Diesel” and “Clean Trucks, Clean Air,” SB 44 (Skinner; D-Berkeley) and SB 210 (Leyva; D-Chino) created regulatory hurdles, cost increases, and burdens that would make transportation of California products costly, risk losses of crops and livestock, and insert uncertainty into the future of cargo transit operations. CalChamber opposed these bills, tagging SB 44 as a Job Killer, but with amendments, has now moved to support.
SB 44 sought to require that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) develop a strategy by 2021 for reducing emissions from motor vehicles by 40 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050. The bill’s findings suggest that transportation represents 50 percent of statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but went on to target medium- and heavy-duty trucks only. As originally drafted, the trucking industry would be shouldering the full burden of reducing GHGs from the entire transportation sector in order to meet the state’s overall GHG goals. Because such a disconnect would inevitably require significant reductions in the cargo transit sector, CalChamber labeled this bill a JOB KILLER for 2019.
SB 210 requires CARB to develop a “smog-check” program for diesel trucks, and, as currently drafted, does not contain sufficient time for correcting violations. It also provides CARB with a blank check to impose any “reasonable fee” upon the industry. Because amendments are needed to control costs and create predictability for the trucking industry, CalChamber is Opposed Unless Amended to this bill.
The findings in these bills were misleading, suggesting that the trucking industry is responsible for all air quality concerns, and requiring one industry to reduce emissions for the entire transportation sector. Both bills failed to recognize the many advancements already undertaken by the diesel industry, which have resulted in diesel vehicles that are 97 percent cleaner today than in 1990, and upgrades to new trucks that are required by 2023.
The introduction of new bills and new regulations each year continues to cause uncertainty in the marketplace. This begs the question: How can a company anticipate its needs years in the future when the goal posts are constantly changing? That answer requires balancing climate goals with economic stability.