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Citing construction’s deep economic dip, the California Air Resources Board says it will issue a postponement of its March 1 emissions compliance deadline, and “until further notice, no enforcement action will be taken for noncompliance.”
“The construction industry has felt the sting of the faltering economy with reduced activity and idled off-road equipment,” says James Goldstene, ARB executive officer. “This has made it difficult for contractors to pay for required clean-air upgrades.” And reduced activity has resulted in a “corresponding reduction in construction emissions,” says Goldstene.
ARB also announced an executive officer hearing will be held on March 11 during which contractors can testify on whether the off-road regulations should be further modified to account for the emissions reductions caused by idled equipment. The testimonies will be included in an already-scheduled update to the full board on April 11.
Although not stated in the release, ARB’s actions are likely a result of a study the Associated General Contractors of America presented to ARB in December. Using ARB’s fleet data, collected through the Diesel Off-Road On-line Reporting System, AGC argued California’s dramatic construction downturn had already accomplished what ARB had set out to do with diesel emission rules mandating fleet updates, retrofits and repowering. In-use fleet numbers had dropped so dramatically, argued AGC, that construction’s NOx emission were at levels “lower than ARB sought to achieve in 2025.” Furthermore, according to AGC’s equipment inventory analysis, ARB’s original 2000 estimate overstated NOx and PM emissions from the states off-road diesel engines in 2009 by close to 40 percent.