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California to begin pilot program requiring smog testing for older diesel trucks

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Diesel-burning trucks 6 years old or older in California will soon be required to pass regular smog tests, thanks to a pilot program that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed off on Friday. (Courtesy: Fotosearch)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday that will make California the first state to require regular smog testing on heavy-duty diesel trucks and tractor-trailers.

Senate Bill 210 requires the California Air Resources Board to set up a pilot program over the next two years and after that put rules in place for truck smog checks. The pilot program will be similar to a smog testing system that’s been in place for decades requiring passenger vehicles that are six years old or older to pass a smog check every two years.

Until now, large trucks have not had such a requirement. Once the program is in place, anyone caught driving a non-gasoline vehicle weighing over 14,000 pounds without a smog certificate can be fined by law enforcement.

Reaction to the bill’s signing was greeted with mixed reactions, with some touting the bill as a long-needed step in the pursuit of improved air quality.

“Just as car owners have to get their own personal cars ‘smog checked’ every two years, so too should truck operators be required to maintain their emissions controls so that we can ensure long lasting air quality improvements here in California,” said state Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, who wrote the bill.

The California Air Resources Board estimates that heavy-duty trucks operating in California account for nearly 60% of the state’s nitrogen oxides emissions — one of the main chemicals that causes smog. The board also estimates that this program could have the effect of eliminating the emissions of 145,000 trucks.

Environmentalists say the new law will reduce emissions of soot and other contaminants, which contribute to high asthma rates in California.

“This is the biggest air quality bill of this year,” said Bill Magavern, policy director for the Coalition for Clean Air. “It’s something we have needed for years. Diesel trucks are the single biggest source of air pollution in California.”

The law also had the support of the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Sierra Club California, the Union of Concerned Scientists and other health and environmental organizations.

Opposition to the program was led by the Western States Trucking Association, the California Farm Bureau Federation, California Cattlemen’s Association and several other industry groups.

One of the trucking industry’s arguments is that the bill was unnecessary because of other truck-engine rules that are already in place or are being phased in over the next few years.

Joe Rajkovacz, a spokesman for the Western States Trucking Association, said that the California Air Resources Board already does regular tests for smoke from trucks at weigh stations and trucking companies.

He noted that the board has also set a rule that by 2023 only trucks that are model 2010 or newer can be driven on California roads. That rule was put in place because older trucks pollute far more than newer trucks.

The trucking industry was opposed to that rule, as well, with the cost to trucking companies being the main concern. There is also concern about what this new emissions program could have, especially for smaller companies and to owner-operators.

Companies could be forced to renovate or replace outdated fleets. And while the bill caps the cost of the new required smog checks at $30, it’s just one more expense that needs to be fit into operating budgets, and they are expenses that can’t be put off.

Opponents are also concerned that the new law may allow state officials to take private data from trucking companies if the companies are required to share information stored in their trucks’ on-board computers.

The new law applies to 18-wheelers, along with delivery trucks, dump trucks, tanker trucks, farm trucks and others. The law does not include buses.

Newsom also signed a companion measure, Senate Bill 44, which will require the air resources board to study new emissions technology for medium and heavy-duty vehicles and adopt stricter standards by 2030 and 2050, respectively.

Newsom rounded out his day Friday by issuing an executive order directing state agencies to examine ways to divest from oil and gas in favor of cleaner technologies. Meanwhile, the agencies that manage California’s pension investment portfolio will work with the Newsom administration on a divestment timeline.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. William

    September 27, 2019 at 1:29 am

    It’s about time

  2. Cindy hill

    September 27, 2019 at 2:19 am

    Maybe California should only allow self driven trucks into their state and see how quick they run out of food and necessities. Picking on farmers too? Y’all should go hungry for a little while and think about that one. That is the stupidest thing I ever heard of. One more reason I hate California and love My Texas!!

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The Nation

Love’s, its customers raise more than $3.75 million for children’s hospitals

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Love’s showed additional support for CMN Hospitals on National Coffee Day, which took place September 29-30 during the store campaign. To honor the day, all hot beverages were discounted to $1, with sales going to CMN Hospitals. (Courtesy: LOVE'S)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores and its customers raised more than $3.75 million for sick and injured children through its five-week store campaign to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In the 20th year of the campaign, the company surpassed its goal of $3.6 million and set a company record for the most money raised during a campaign.

“We are so thankful to our employees and customers who not only donate at our stores, but who also go out of their way to raise money for sick and injured children in creative ways,” said Jenny Love Meyer, vice president of communications for Love’s. “Each year, we enjoy seeing communities come together for this effort and we couldn’t be prouder to have raised over $3.75 million for this year’s campaign.”

From August 26-September 30, customers could purchase Miracle Balloons, round up to the nearest dollar at registers or pumps or participate in events like 5k runs or fishing tournaments to donate money to CMN Hospitals.

Love’s showed additional support for CMN Hospitals on National Coffee Day, which took place September 29-30 during the store campaign. To honor the day, all hot beverages were discounted to $1, with sales going to CMN Hospitals.

“We are excited about the results of this year’s Love’s fundraising campaign,” said John Lauck, president and CEO of CMN Hospitals. “Not only did 2019 mark a 20-year milestone of partnership between Love’s and CMN Hospitals but more exciting, Love’s also crossed $31 million in donations to help sick and injured children treated in our hospitals across the U.S.”

Of the 170 CMN Hospitals throughout North America, 107 benefit from Love’s annual campaign.

 

 

 

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The Nation

Average price of gallon of diesel increase half a cent

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The price for the week ending October 14 was 34.3 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel increase four tenths of one cent to $3.051 for the week ending October 14, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

Normally posted on Monday of each week, the average price chart was released Tuesday because the federal government was closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.

All but two regions of the country posted increases led by a 1.9 cent increase in the Rocky Mountain states (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado).

The New England states (Maine, Vermont, Hew Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) was the only region showing a decline at five tenths of one cent.

The price for the week ending October 14 was 34.3 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018.

 

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DeFazio asks IG to investigate reports of Chao’s conflicts of interest

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In requesting an investigation of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Rep. Peter DeFazio cites newly-obtained information from a recent media report that suggested Chao used her office to give preferential treatment to organizations and projects in Kentucky where her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is currently seeking re-election. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is requesting an investigation into Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and her reported conflicts of interest.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., made the request in a letter to Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III.

The letter, sent October 11, cites newly-obtained information from a recent media report that suggested Chao used her office to give preferential treatment to organizations and projects in Kentucky where her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is currently seeking re-election.

Politico reported that 25% of Secretary Chao’s meetings with local officials between January 2017 and March 2018 were with individuals from Kentucky.

DeFazio said the report noted that requests for meetings with Chao are typically forwarded from McConnell’s office to Chao’s chief of staff, who previously worked on McConnell’s Senate campaign, DeFazio wrote.

The Office of the Secretary of Transportation took exception to DeFazio efforts.

DeFazio said the Politico report followed an earlier report that Chao had asked her chief of staff to serve as an intermediary between her office and McConnell’s office, and that he had helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on federal grants of particular significance to McConnell.

“These allegations were first raised by left wing advocacy groups and hashed out in the media, and the department has previously fully responded to them. They are politically motivated and intended to waste time. While the Department will always be cooperative and responsive to appropriate requests, DOT looks forward to a prompt and final resolution of these questions,” a DOT spokesman told The Trucker Tuesday.

“Allegations included the steering of discretionary grants to fund these projects,” DeFazio wrote.  “I would expect Secretary Chao to meet with individuals from her home state more regularly than other states, but the sheer volume of meetings with local officials from Kentucky when compared to meetings with local officials from the rest of the country creates an appearance of favoritism that is troubling.  Even more troubling is the fact that McConnell’s campaign touted the Politico article on social media saying, ‘Mitch McConnell is a Kentucky Asset.’”

DeFazio said news reports have also raised questions about Chao’s adherence to her federal ethics agreement in which she agreed to divest certain assets to prevent her personal finances from creating conflicts of interest.

In particular, it has been reported that the secretary retained stock in Vulcan Materials, a stone and asphalt producer, as opposed to accepting a cash payment for her stock options in the company, as provided for in her ethics agreement.

 

 

 

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