10 December 2009

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will explore regulatory flexibility for fleet owners and delay the implementation of its emission rule for in-use diesel trucks and buses.

The rule will be delayed in part due to the positive effect the economic recession had on diesel emissions. Diesel emissions in California were 20% lower than expected this year as a result of the slowdown in transport.

The ARB has also discussed the professional misconduct of one of its members, Hien Tran, and its implications to the truck rule. Hien Tran—who authored the health report underlying the rule—falsely claimed that he held a PhD in statistics from UC Davis. The ARB directed its staff to withdraw and redo the health report that carried Hien Tran's name. However, the ARB neglected to second a motion by its member John Telles, who wanted to repeal the diesel rule after learning of Tran's misconduct. Tran was suspended without pay for two months and removed from his management position.

The ARB passed the diesel truck and bus rule last December. The rule requires truck owners to install diesel particulate filters on their rigs beginning from January 1, 2011, with nearly all vehicles upgraded by 2014. A number of flexibilities are considered, such as deferring all of the first year (2011) requirements, or a 2-year deferral for some fleets and/or vehicles.

The ARB will consider the amendments to the diesel truck rule at its April 2010 meeting.

Source: California ARB