California’s legislators have departed Sacramento and returned to their districts for the remainder of the year. Although the Legislature is in recess until January, the state’s regulatory agencies continue with business as usual. One such agency, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), is active on several important matters such as the Carl Moyer Program, the In-Use Off-Road Mobile Agricultural Equipment Regulation (Tractor Rule), Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) regulations, and On-Highway Truck and Bus Rule.
CARB committed in its federally-mandated 2007 State Implementation Plan (SIP) to promulgate a regulation that accelerates the fleet turnover of in-use agricultural equipment that meets the cleanest new engine NOx (nitrogen oxide, an ozone-forming gas) standards. Current incentive programs have been very successful in meeting the 2017 emissions reductions goals. However, additional reductions are needed in order to meet the 2023, 2032, and eventually 2050 emissions reductions. To this end, CARB is in the early stages of developing the Tractor Rule. This regulation will affect agricultural equipment with 25 horsepower or greater diesel engines. Examples include, but are not limited to, tractors, harvesters, combines, balers, sprayers, forklifts, and all-terrain vehicles owned and/or operated by growers, producers, custom operators, first processors, and rental/leasing companies. The Tractor Rule will likely only apply to the San Joaquin Valley although nothing has been written in stone on this. WG has been actively engaged on this issue with industry partners and meets regularly with CARB staff to ensure that incentive funding and protecting the investments in equipment that growers are making today will be safeguarded under the final regulation.
Growers should be congratulated for taking advantage of incentive funding programs in order to meet the 2017 emissions reductions goals. A sizable and dependable source of incentive funding will also be a major component of a feasible and workable Tractor Rule that phases in stricter requirements over time as Tier 4 final engines become more widely available. The Carl Moyer Program is one such program that offers grants for cleaner engines and equipment. Carl Moyer funding was set to expire in 2015. Recognizing this, WG was very supportive in the legislative passage and Governor’s approval of AB 8 (Perea) this year. AB 8 extends funding and authorization of the Carl Moyer Program through January 1, 2024.
WG members should also stay updated on two current CARB regulations.
On January 1, 2013, CARB began enforcement of a new requirement that shippers load only compliant Transport Refrigeration Units (TRUs). Shippers are able to show due diligence in following the guidelines of the regulation by inserting a statement onto their bill of lading. (See WG’s website [www.wga.com] for information on a template bill of lading and procedures shippers can use.)
Additionally, CARB’s On-Highway Truck and Bus regulation is in effect and CARB inspectors are working closely with the California Highway Patrol to conduct field inspections. Inspectors are noting the model year of engines and verifying that either the engine model meets standards or for older engines that the appropriate particulate matter filters have been correctly installed.
Failure to comply with either of these two regulations may lead to substantial fines being levied by CARB. If you have any questions about any of these regulations, please do not hesitate to contact WG staff for more information.
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