California moves to curb emissions from trucks, buses

SACRAMENTO -- California regulators on Friday approved landmark rules for heavy-duty trucks and buses aimed at curbing air pollution and gases that contribute to global warming.

The Air Resources Board acted despite loud objection by truckers in the Valley and elsewhere who say they can't afford to buy the required smog controls or new rigs during a recession.

But environmentalists and air regulator praised the move as a necessary step to meet federal pollution targets.

"There's no way the Valley could come into attainment ... without this rule," said Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

The region has until 2024 to meet federal smog standards and until 2014 to clean up dangerous soot and chemical debris, known as particulate matter or PM-2.5, according to plans.

Big diesel trucks are a major contributor to smog and soot pollution. Most of the trucks and buses on the road today have few emissions controls or none, according to the Air Resources Board.

Starting in 2010, pollution filters must be installed on older trucks, with the last one installed by 2014. Between 2013 and 2023, owners must replace older trucks with 2010 or newer models.

New trucks cost $100,000 or more. Filters cost up to $15,000.

Low-mileage agriculture vehicles and specialty farm vehicles -- such as water trucks that control dust -- have later deadlines to comply, but all the trucks must meet the standard by 2023.

The rules also call for school buses made before April 1, 1977, to be off the road by 2012.

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