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US EPA settles with three trucking companies over California diesel rule; $201K in penalties

The Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements with three companies totaling $201,000 in penalties for violating California’s Truck and Bus Regulation. The companies either failed to install particulate filters on their own heavy-duty diesel trucks or failed to verify that trucks they hired for use in California complied with the state rule.

The California Truck and Bus Regulation was adopted into federal Clean Air Act plan requirements in 2012 and applies to diesel trucks and buses operating in California. (Earlier post.) The rule requires trucking companies to upgrade vehicles they own to meet specific NOx and particulate matter performance standards and also requires trucking companies to verify compliance of vehicles they hire or dispatch. Heavy-duty diesel trucks in California must meet 2010 engine emissions levels or use diesel particulate filters that can reduce the emissions of diesel particulates into the atmosphere by 85% or more.

In 2015, the US EPA announced the first Federal enforcement of the Truck and Bus Regulation. (Earlier post.)

Diesel trucks are heavily used in the San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles Basin, which suffer from some of the worst air quality in the nation. EPA is committed to helping California achieve cleaner, healthier air by ensuring compliance with the state’s pollution rules.

—Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest

These cases are examples of how California and the EPA can work together to protect Californians’ health by strongly enforcing the regulation to clean up our trucks and buses. When trucking companies operate in California, compliance with state laws is essential.

—Chief of CARB Enforcement, Todd Sax

Diesel emissions from trucks are one of the state’s largest sources of fine particle pollution, or soot, which has been linked to a variety of health issues, including asthma, impaired lung development in children, and cardiovascular effects in adults.

About 625,000 trucks are registered outside of the state, but operate in California and are subject to the rule. Many of these vehicles are older models and emit high amounts of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. The rule, which requires diesel trucks and buses that operate in California to be upgraded to reduce diesel emissions, is an essential part of the state’s plan to attain cleaner air.

The announcement highlights separate administrative settlement agreements with three companies that are all members of EPA’s SmartWay program, a voluntary public-private effort that helps improve freight transportation efficiency through a comprehensive system for tracking and documenting emissions and fuel use.

  • C.R. England, Inc. operated 34 heavy-duty diesel trucks in California from 2013 to 2014 without the required diesel particulate filters. The company, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, is required to pay a $64,000 penalty and is currently in compliance.

  • Knight Transportation Inc. failed to verify that the carriers it hired to transport goods in California from 2012 to 2014 complied with the Truck and Bus rule. Knight, headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is required to pay a $72,000 penalty; the company agreed to register all of its hired contractors on the state database (TRUCRS) and to provide verification of state compliance.

  • Werner Enterprises, Inc. operated five heavy-duty diesel trucks in California from 2012 to 2014 without the required diesel particulate filters. Werner also failed to verify that the carriers it hired to transport goods in California complied with the Truck and Bus rule. The company, headquartered in Omaha, Neb., is required to pay a $65,000 penalty.

Comments

DaveD

$201K??? That won't pay for the CARB Christmas party this year. Why bother to spend time/money to prosecute if you're not going to be serious about the penalties?

KiwiME

Absurdly-low penalties for intentional violations!

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