A story broke yesterday concerning the retrofit of more than 100 trucks from Mexico that do not meet United States environmental standards. Our federal government is paying to upgrade these trucks, yet when the state of California and the EPA set new rules for US-owned trucks, they fine companies who do not comply.
This post is not about the environment, it concerns how US trucking companies are treated by the federal and state government as compared to Mexican-owned rigs. From AzCentral.com.
For air-quality regulators, the border creates a legal barrier. State and federal agencies can’t force vehicles manufactured and bought in Mexico to comply with U.S. emissions rules, even though the trucks cross into this country.
So the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality tried a different approach, offering to pay Mexican truck owners to replace old mufflers with new catalytic converters that will reduce harmful diesel emissions by up to 30 percent. The project in effect circumvents the more lax Mexican rules about exhaust systems.
Using federal grant money, the state agency installed the new converters on 55 trucks last year and will refit about the same number by the middle of this year.
The cost per truck is about $1,600 and US taxpayers are footing the bill. The logical move would be to require trucks that cross the border be up to US standards to meet safety and environmental rules, but that might just be considered racist, so it’s off the table. I just made that up, but you know racism would be one of the charges thrown out there if we required Mexico’s trucks to meet our standards.
So do American truck owners and companies get to drive into a convenient truck stop and get their free upgrades to meet state and federal guidelines? Of course not.
The State of California implemented strict regulations on refrigerated trucks back in 2004. Last April, a federal court agreed California could enforce these rules even though the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had less-stringent standards. The upgrades to the transportation refrigerated units (TRUs) mandated by California and approved by the EPA will cost businesses $2,000 to $5,000 per unit.
At issue in the case was EPA’s grant of a waiver to the California Air Resources Board on Jan. 16, 2009, allowing the agency to enforce the [transportation refrigerated units] TRU regulations, which were adopted in February 2004. The regulations mandate reductions in engine emissions by requiring that TRUs equipped with diesel engines that are seven years or older be replaced or retrofit with new engines or verified diesel emissions control strategies, or VDECS. Or operators can use alternative technologies such as electric-standby/hybrid-electric or hybrid-cryogenic systems.
Once California got their waiver to implement the stricter regulations in December 2009, they started enforcement efforts. In January and February of 2010 the California Air Resources Board…
issued citations totaling more than $180,000 in penalties for failing to register equipment and failing to meet emissions requirements…
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