AGC challenges proposal to rewrite emission standards for off-road diesel equipment

Proposed targets would require $13 billion, 13-year effort

News AGC of America May 25, 2007
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The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has submitted detailed comments to the California Air Resource Board (CARB) on its proposal to require existing fleets of off-road diesel powered equipment to reduce their emissions of particulate matter (PM), and in some cases, oxides of nitrogen (NOx). In order to meet these new targets, construction contractors in California would have to retrofit or replace their existing equipment, an effort estimated to cost $13 billion and take over 13 years. California has unique authority under the federal Clean Air Act to regulate these emissions from off-road equipment. Other states do not have this authority but are permitted under the Clean Air Act to adopt the California standards.

Because of the potential impact to contractors nationwide of this action by California's CARB, AGC of America is working with the AGC of California, the San Diego Chapter AGC and a coalition of California construction groups to prevent these rules from being implemented as proposed. In its comments, AGC emphasized that the new rule would render thousands of pieces of construction equipment worthless unless and until fitted with emission controls that may or may not be available, or re-powered with entirely new engines.

AGC pointed out that the proposal would compel many construction contractors to retire equipment long before the end of its useful life, costing workers their jobs and delaying the completion of essential infrastructure improvements. If adopted, this proposal could wipe out the net worth of many construction companies, depriving them of their bonding capacity, and simultaneously requiring them to make massive capital investments. AGC also identified technological barriers to meeting the standards.

AGC further explained that CARB has failed to consider reasonable, less costly alternatives that would also improve air quality in California. AGC's comments were shared with the California coalition and individual coalition members were encouraged to make use of them in submitting their own comments.

CARB has now provided a two month extension on the comment period and AGC will use the time to generate additional information on the impact of the rule and alert other groups to take action.

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