Four Republican state senators are encouraging their colleagues to join them in legislating to keep a new requirement from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) from going into effect in Pennsylvania.
Two decades ago, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began requiring that heavy-duty diesel-vehicle engines receive CARB certification as part of the agency’s Heavy-Duty Diesel Emissions Control Program.
In 2021, however, California announced it would soon adopt a new rule that alarmed the Keystone State’s trucking industry: The manufacturer’s warranty for emissions-control equipment in class-eight trucks would need to expand from 150,000 miles to 350,000 miles. That provision would have gone into effect in Pennsylvania last year, but in November 2021, former Governor Tom Wolf (D) suspended the mandate that diesel trucks get CARB-certified.
That month, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association President Rebecca Oyler testified to state legislators that the warranty requirement would lead the cost of new trucks in Pennsylvania to rise by at least $2,100 and as much as $5,500 within a year. She added industry members would need to absorb those expenses on top of the onerous financial setbacks they already suffered as a result of the restrictions on commercial activity that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And the CARB standards continue to concern Pennsylvania trucking and busing interests because DEP is still reviewing the warranty rules and has indicated it may decide to reimplement CARB certification by July. Last session, State Senators Gene Yaw (R-Williamsport), Wayne Langerholc (R-Clearfield), and Mike Regan (R-Dillsburg) introduced a bill to prevent that. After passing the Senate, the legislation did not get a vote in the House of Representatives, so the senators and new colleague Jarrett Coleman (R-Alburtis) announced they would reintroduce it.
“With the increased demand to purchase diesel vehicles to transport people and goods in our Commonwealth, it is imperative that we take action now to protect industries that are integral to our economy and provide high-paying jobs — including the trucking and school bus industries,” the senators wrote in a memorandum describing their measure. “Ending this requirement will protect individuals and businesses from having to pay thousands of dollars more to purchase, register, or title new vehicles in Pennsylvania simply because California adopted a warranty provision as part of their new requirements, which does nothing to protect the environment.”
The sponsors said they anticipate a reintroduction of CARB certification would cause individuals and companies in the market for diesel engines to leave Pennsylvania. Neighboring Ohio and West Virginia both do not impose CARB standards.
Opponents of reimplementing the rules point to progress in engine manufacturing in reducing the pollutant nitric oxide emissions and particulate discharge by 90 percent and 98 percent, respectively, since the turn of the century. Manufacturers have achieved this while vastly improving fuel efficiency.
Anti-CARB legislation has solid Republican support but little backing from Democrats, which could prove crucial as sponsors attempt to get their bill passed in the House in which Democrats won a majority of seats last year. And even if they could win approval there, they would still need to get liberal Democratic Governor-elect Josh Shapiro to sign it.
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