The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Thursday that Virginia-based Estes Express Lines will pay a $100,000 penalty for violations of the California Truck and Bus Regulation, for failing to install particulate filters on 73 of its heavy-duty diesel trucks (15% of its California fleet). This marks the first Federal enforcement of California’s Truck and Bus Regulation. (Earlier post.)
In California, mobile sources of diesel emissions, such as trucks and construction equipment, are one of the largest sources of fine particulates. About 625,000 trucks operating in California are registered outside of the state, many are older models emitting particulates and nitrogen oxides (NOx). The California truck rules are the first of their kind in the nation. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) estimates the rules will prevent an estimated 3,500 deaths in California over 15 years (2010 – 2025).
The California Truck and Bus Regulation was adopted into federal Clean Air Act plan requirements in 2012 and apply to privately-owned diesel trucks and buses. The rule also requires any trucking company to ensure their subcontractors are only using compliant trucks, and requires companies to upgrade their vehicles to meet specific NOx and PM2.5 performance standards in California. Heavy-duty diesel trucks in California must meet 2010 engine emissions levels or use diesel particulate filters, which can reduce the emissions of diesel particulate into the atmosphere by 85% or more.
ARB’s partnership to enforce our clean truck and bus regulation with our partners at EPA is vitally important to us. It helps bring vehicles that are operating illegally into compliance, and levels the playing field for those who have already met the requirements.—ARB Chair Mary D. Nichols
In addition to the penalty, Estes will spend $290,400 towards projects to educate the out-of-state trucking industry on the regulation and for replacing old wood burning devices in the San Joaquin Valley. Estes will pay $35,000 to the University of California Davis Extension to implement a state-approved training program for out-of-state trucking firms on compliance with the rule. Estes will also pay $255,400 to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Burn Cleaner Incentive Program that will be used to replace 80 or more wood-burning devices with cleaner ones.
Estes is a large, private, for-hire trucking firm based in Virginia that owns and operates diesel-fueled vehicles in all 50 states. In February 2015, EPA issued a Notice of Violation to Estes after EPA’s investigation found that the company failed to equip its heavy-duty diesel vehicles with particulate filters and failed to verify compliance with the Truck and Bus Regulation for its hired motor carriers. Estes now operates only new trucks in California.