The numbers game

Marcia Untitled 1By Marcia Gruver Doyle

And so the California Air Resources Board has finally come to the conclusion that its numbers are off – and by a significant amount.

In a series of workshops this fall, CARB is admitting that it overestimated the average annual activity of the top types of equipment used in the state (see box). It’s also saying it overstated the state’s off-highway machine population numbers by 32 percent and the engine load factors it used are 25 to 50 percent too high. These are three of the four numbers CARB used to calculate estimated industry’s emissions, on which it based the off-highway diesel emissions rule it was determined to enact this March.

But since the agency didn’t get the acquired EPA approval, the rule was postponed and now after recalculating its own numbers, CARB seems to be issuing a giant “oops.” This revised data shows the agency can meet its nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions reduction goals for several years – without the rule.

Now after recalculating its own numbers, CARB seems to be issuing a giant “oops.”

The always quotable Bill Davis, executive vice president of the Southern California Contractors Association, calls the series of workshops now underway the CARB “apology tour.”

But, he concludes, such a label is probably wishful thinking: “They probably won’t say they’re sorry they caused thousands of construction companies to sell off perfectly good but older equipment to get in compliance with the off-road rule, or even worse, spend good money to buy new machines to comply …”

And, says the Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition, it’s way too soon for any kind of dodged-bullet relief, warning its members that CARB “will try to maintain the current structure of regulation rather than propose … significant changes based on their new analysis and findings.”

So once again the California construction industry is being asked to testify, write and email CARB about an issue that just doesn’t add up … even by the agency’s own reckoning. EW

Marcias Chart Untitled 1