Thursday, June 25, 2015

CARB Provides No Quarter for After School Program

Boys and Girls Club Fined $14,500 for PSIP & Truck and Bus Rule Violations
If folks in the golden state and across the country haven’t caught on to the unrelenting regulatory authority of CARB, it is high time to wake up and smell the low hanging fruit. 

Tens of thousands of dollars in fines are currently being assessed for non-compliant trucks across the great expanse of California. It should be no secret that several rules require diesel powered fleets operating in the golden state to meet standards or face penalties.

The turnover and retrofit standards under the Truck and Bus rule and the annual testing requirements of the PSIP are a single component in the host of conditions heavy duty truck operators must adhere to in order to remain above board.
Many fleets can attest to the fact that once a citation is received a cascading aftereffect results. Once an operator is cited there is a limited window to not only pay the fines but also secure new equipment to meet the standards.

Typically, enforcement actions are the result of referrals, information requests or in-field inspections, no matter which way it happens, the results are the same. Once CARB finds a non-compliant vehicle, it sets off a chain of events that eventually leads to a compliance audit for other CARB programs.
The settlement agreement between the storied after school program founded in the 1830’s and the barely 40 year old Air Quality agency surrounds their school bus fleet and the lack of  data for the periodic smoke inspection program (PSIP) as well as non-compliance with the Truck and Bus Rule.  

The PSIP program  requires fleets of 2 or more to annually test smoke opacity for trucks over 6,000 pounds GVWR  equipped with engines that are over 4 years old (SEE March 23, 2015 Posting:   Where There's Smoke, There's CARB ).
The Truck and Bus rule has been on the books since 2008 and requires fleets of all shapes and sizes to meet in-use standards or face penalties. Turnover and retrofit requirements impact any diesel vehicle over 14,000 pounds GVWR, this includes tractors, straight trucks, street sweepers and school buses, to name a few. (SEE June 5, 2013 Posting: CARB Conundrum )

While it appears that CARB has given the Boys and Girls Club some consideration for previous violations, the non-profit will only have 45 days to demonstrate full compliance with the Truck and Bus rule or potentially face additional fines for missing the deadlines.
Many compliant carriers may wonder why CARB is pursuing non-profit organizations instead of the “bottom-feeders” who have skirted CARB requirements and depressed rates for years. The simple answer is no one is safe.

A quick read of settlement  summaries on CARB's website will show a host of hefty citations that have have been levied against small and large business alike. Rumor has it that several major settlements will be concluded soon, totaling millions of dollars in fines. In  fact, just recently a massive half million dollar settlement was inflicted on a Central Valley carrier for non-compliance (SEE February 18, 2015 posting   Truck Fleet Faces $523,675 Fine for Non-Compliance with CARB Rules ).
To their credit, CARB has always stated that they will work with carriers who are making an effort to comply, and all evidence so far indicates a willingness to discuss the particulars of any individual case; the Boys and Girls Club settlement agreement is no exception.

Nevertheless, this should a blatant indication that CARB means business, and that their latest stepped up enforcement efforts are in fact bearing fruit (low hanging or otherwise).

It is just a matter of time before they weed out the remaining non-compliant fleets resulting in an open landscape for those equipment operators who are committed to a clean air future…or, at least staying in business.

Stay Tuned!

Matt Schrap is President of California Fleet Solutions and VP Government Programs for Crossroads Equipment Lease and Finance.  

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