CARB approves four major regulations, delays enforcement of others

By Charlie Morasch, staff writer

California’s struggling economy may have prompted the California Air Resources Board’s decision to delay some portions of new truck rules.

But it didn’t stop the Board from implementing the first major cap-and-trade program in the U.S.

In addition to approving the cap-and-trade reg, CARB amended the statewide on-road truck and bus regulation; the port truck regulation; and the greenhouse gas emission (SmartWay) regulation at its December meeting. OOIDA submitted comments to CARB on the greenhouse gas rule and the on-road rule. The comments are available at

The on-road truck and bus regulation requires all trucks to meet 2010 model year engine emissions standards by the year 2023. Fleets will be required to begin meeting other diesel emission standards by 2014 through a variety of compliance options.

The port truck (drayage) regulation requires all trucks working at the ports to have diesel particulate filters by 2014. The drayage regulation has already banned 1993 and older model year engine trucks and requires diesel particulate filters on some trucks earlier this year. The amendment includes new requirements to include trucks that operate outside port and rail facilities.

The greenhouse gas emission rule requires use of EPA SmartWay-certified tractors and trailers, or retrofit of existing trucks and trailers with a combination of SmartWay approved tires and aerodynamic features designed to improve fuel efficiency. The amendment adds a one-year delay for the requirement that low-rolling-resistance tires be used on 2010 and older model year engine trucks, adds a four-year delay for the same requirement on trailers, and adds flexibility to reporting requirements.

The board also delayed compliance rules for some trailers that can’t be retrofitted with SmartWay-verified technologies.

Cap and trade
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may not be back in office in Sacramento, but he left his mark at CARB.

On Dec. 17, 2010, Schwarzenegger showed up at the meeting to urge CARB’s approval of a cap-and-trade regulation the Board considers its crowning achievement of California’s climate change programs.

Under a cap-and-trade system, businesses are limited to a certain amount of emissions by being allotted a fixed number of credits. Businesses that pollute less than the allowed limit can sell their unneeded credits to businesses that pollute more than allowed.

CARB’s cap-and-trade regulation limits emissions from businesses responsible for 80 percent of California’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The new program covers 360 businesses that operate 600 facilities. It is being implemented in two phases. The first phase in 2012 will regulate major industrial sources like utilities. A second phase in 2015 will add distributors of diesel, natural gas and other transportation fuels.

CARB’s system will provide emission credits for free from 2012 through 2014. Companies that need additional credits to cover their emissions can purchase them at quarterly CARB auctions “or on the open market.”

Regulating transportation fuel providers, for example, will pass the cost of cap-and-trade compliance on to truck drivers and other consumers. In addition to the increased costs being passed on to consumers, CARB could keep going and adopt cap-and-trade regulations on mobile sources like trucks and cars.

CARB’s cap-and-trade regulation can be a template for other states, which can choose to adopt California’s regulation in lieu of a federal cap-and-trade program that hasn’t emerged despite multiple efforts.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved climate change legislation in 2009, though multiple Senate proposals never made it to a vote. LL