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California Air Resources Board Enacts New Emissions Standards For Ships, Diesel Trucks

An oil tanker and a cargo ship are seen anchored off the coast of Long Beach, California, on April 24, 2020.
An oil tanker and a cargo ship are seen anchored off the coast of Long Beach, California, on April 24, 2020.
APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

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The state’s Air Resources Board last week enacted a couple major emissions rules that would require diesel trucks and cargo ships to significantly tamp down the pollution they release. According to Cal Matters, the rules ease pollution by about 10,000 tons per year, but the cost of the plan could reach near $7 billion. 

One rule requires more ships at ports to use electric power and another puts tighter emissions standards in place for large diesel trucks. The heavy-freight moving industry is a key part of California’s economy, but also a significant polluter. The Los Angeles Times reports that diesel trucks produce nearly a third of the state’s smog. While air quality officials say the new rules will be a lifeline for communities near ports where residents breathe some of the most polluted air in the state, those in opposition argue the timeline and cost don’t add up and will create significant problems for the state’s economy by encouraging ships to land in other ports. Today on AirTalk, we get the latest on the new clean-air protocols and discuss what impact they could have on California communities and industries. Do you have thoughts or questions? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722.


Adrian Martinez, Los Angeles based staff attorney at the environmental law firm, EarthJustice; he tweets @LASmogGuy

Matt Schrap, interim director of the Truck Dealers Alliance of California, an organization representing the interests of heavy duty commercial truck dealerships in California, and president of California Fleet Solutions, a business focused on helping fleets secure government incentives and financing for clean equipment in California