Air laws may jeopardize trucking industry

December 12, 2008 6:32:24 PM PST
More than a million trucks and buses will have to have new diesel filters installed by 2010. The California Air Resources Board estimates the new regulation will cost truck fleet owners more than $5.5 billion through 2020. Truck owners are angry, saying the expensive new rule could shut them down.

"They're too aggressive they have to back off," said Frank Ghiglione from Rodgers Trucking.

Ghiglione owns Rodgers trucking of San Leandro. He employs 170 workers and runs 140 trucks. he's angry that the California Air Resources Board is requiring all trucks to have these diesel exhaust filters installed starting next year.

It could cost some truckers up to $40,000 each. Ghiglione's cost with his own mechanics doing the installation is estimated at $15-20,000 per truck.

"I was figuring about $1.6 million to do all our trucks," said Ghiglione.

"Can you afford $1.6 million?" asked ABC7's Thomas Roman.

No, not a way in the world," said Ghiglione.

The new regulation would affect more than $1 million diesel trucks that do business in California and in excess of 170,000 busses.

The CARB regulations are considered the most restrictive in the nation.

The California Air Resource Board says that if every truck in California had new filters installed by 2012, it would cut particulate matter in diesel soot in California by 43 percent.

CARB has agreed with health officials who attribute the cause of many respiratory illnesses like asthma and emphysema to diesel exhaust. They say over the next 15 years such filters could save an estimated $68 billion in health costs.

"We in the trucking industry do want clean air cause were around the diesel all the time. Yes it affects us too," said Alan Osofsky.

Ghiglione says that companies like his replace their trucks every 10 years. They could comply through attrition and not have to risk bankruptcy or layoffs in order to afford the new filters.

"The only way we can do it is to start laying off. I don't want to do that before the holiday," said Ghiglione.

The state does have one billion dollars in bond money that it is offering these truckers in order to help them retrofit their trucks and busses. Some believe that won't be enough.


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