California will do the diesel dole, breathe easier

Line up on the right, folks. The State of California has a quarter-billion dollars to give away.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

Line up on the right, folks. The State of California has a quarter-billion dollars to give away. Got a few old fiesel trucks or a smoke-spewing tug boat? Well, this is your chance to get a little greener. Thanks to the California voters.

In November, 2006, California passed State Proposition 1B. It called for $20 billion worth of bonds to finance various transport projects in the state. A billion of that is to go to new tech diesel to lower air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The state's Air Resources Board will begin to hand out the first quarter of that money next spring. By year's end they will have finalized guidelines for the grants.

Here's what the CARB press release says about the grants, "Bond funds will flow via grants from ARB to local agencies, then to equipment owners. At both steps in the process, there is competition to ensure that the most beneficial projects are funded. The key elements of the competition will be the ability of the project to reduce emissions and the readiness of the local agencies and the equipment owners to expedite every step of the process to get cleaner equipment operating sooner."

The Diesel Technology Forum is pleased. We talked to their head recently for this blog.

Here's DTF's press statement: "The diesel industry applauds California’s environmental leadership and stands ready to help the state clean its air,' said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, an industry trade group with offices in Washington and Sacramento. 'Diesel emissions have been dramatically reduced in recent years with the removal of sulfur from diesel fuel, innovative engine technologies and advanced retrofit equipment that clean up older engines,' Schaeffer said. 'With the aid of bonds and other innovative funding programs, the state of California leads the nation in finding ways to bring clean diesel technology to its ports, railways and highways'.”

Euroepe is far ahead of the U.S. in use of lower emission diesel fuel and engines. This is one small step toward catching up. And it will start with the many older diesel enginess now doing heavy=duty freight hauling service in the nation's most populous state.

This statewide move is getting some push from below, not just voter approval last year. Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are considering banning all but clean running trucks.

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