Release 09-110
December 9, 2009

    Leo Kay
cell 916-849-9843

ARB calls for new health report, directs staff to explore regulatory flexibility for small businesses on diesel truck rule

SACRAMENTO: The Air Resources Board directed its staff today to return to the Board next April with a new provision that would provide truck fleets more flexibility in cleaning up their diesel emissions under the state's Truck and Bus Rule that was adopted in December of last year, in light of the recession's effect on the industry.

ARB staff demonstrated that the down economy has reduced the amount of time trucks have operated, thus reducing harmful diesel emissions that would have occurred during normal economic times.

The Board also directed staff to withdraw and redo the health report that carried Hien Tran's name since it was learned last year that he falsely claimed he held a PhD in statistics from UC Davis. The implementation of the rule will continue to be carried out during this period.

The Board also neglected to second a motion by Board Member John Telles, who wanted to repeal the diesel rule after learning of Tran's misconduct.

"With today's set of actions, we confidently set out to revalidate the science supporting our rules and set up a process to allow for more flexibility for small businesses in the regulation given the down economy," ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols said. "We take the employee misconduct very seriously but it should not affect an extremely important public health measure that has been extensively reviewed throughout the scientific community. We have tightened up our procedures to ensure an incident like this never happens again."

ARB passed the diesel truck and bus rule last December that requires truck owners to install diesel exhaust filters on their rigs by Jan. 1, 2011, with nearly all vehicles upgraded by 2014. The regulation is estimated to prevent 9,400 premature deaths over its lifetime.

To reduce diesel emissions and improve air quality and public health, the ARB adopted a Diesel Risk Reduction Plan in 2000 and has already passed regulations addressing urban buses, garbage trucks, school bus and truck idling, stationary engines, transport refrigeration units, cargo handling equipment at ports and rail yards, off-road vehicles, port trucks and other sources.

For more information on the Statewide Bus and Truck Regulation, go here: /regact/2008/truckbus08/truckbus08.htm .

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.