If you all are wondering what the implications of this current Federal administration might be, California could give you an idea of just how bad things are. It was only a year ago that cotton gins in California finished replacing or retrofitting their propane forklifts to reduce air pollution. Now, the next air quality regulation is kicking in to full swing. That regulation is known as the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) On-Road Heavy Duty Vehicle (In Use) Regulation, more commonly known as “the Truck Rule.”
The Truck Rule requires each and every truck operating in California to be replaced by 2016 with a truck that has a 2010 or newer model year engine. And most trucks will have to install a diesel particulate filter (DPF) in the interim. In some cases, these DPFs will cost more than the truck they are being placed on! There is a specific schedule by which trucks must be retrofitted and then replaced, based upon the model year of the engine. There are a few exceptions for low or limited-use vehicles and some specialty trucks, including cotton module movers. For those trucks below the specified annual mileage thresholds, they will enjoy a few more years before they must be replaced, but their demise is now less than four years away, or, in the case of cotton module movers, it is less than 10 years away. And the good news for those trucks? They aren’t required to have DPFs placed on them, as they will simply be replaced when their compliance date is up. But, in the end, they will be replaced.
Think that is bad? CARB has now officially begun working on development of the “In-Use Off-Road Mobile Agricultural Equipment Regulation,” otherwise known as “the Tractor Rule.” This regulation will require the replacement of farm tractors and harvesters with equipment that has an EPA Certified Tier III or Tier IV engine, beginning on Jan. 1, 2014. We don’t know many more specifics than that. CARB has indicated that the requirements will be spread out over several years and will focus on the highest emitting equipment first, considering age of the equipment and the hours used. For tractors that are 1995 and older, the likelihood is that they will be the first ones on the chopping block. I’ll have more on that issue in a future story.
Roger Isom is executive vice president of the California Cotton Ginners and Growers Association. Contact him at (559) 252-0684 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.