Commentary: Clean air is worth the price

This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.

The state air board will meet this week to consider tough new rules governing diesel engines and the emissions they cause. We urge the board to adopt the rules for the sake of cleaner skies and a healthier California.

The new rules are on the agenda of the California Air Resources Board for its meetings Dec. 11 and 12. They are opposed by the trucking industry, among others, as too burdensome in this time of economic crisis. And we acknowledge that the cost will be high. But the cost of the status quo is even higher.

Diesel emissions are the single-most damaging form of pollution in California's air. Trucks and buses are responsible for 40% of the harmful particulate matter and 50% of the nitrogen oxides – the main component of smog – in the state.

Particulate matter is very pernicious, especially in the Valley, where pollution is exacerbated by the combination of geography and climate. The tiny particles can penetrate deeply into human lungs and other organs. There they can cause or aggravate a whole array of cardiovascular and respiratory ailments, including asthma.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.