It is fascinating how something can be both a help and a hindrance. Take our industry’s essential role in the economy. As we all know, without trucks, America stops.
Those many trucks also consume lots of diesel. When the government wants to crack down on emissions, they zero in on – you guessed it – essential industries who consume carbon-based fuels like us!
The good news is that Minnesota generally enjoys good air quality, and is in "attainment” as defined by the United State Environmental Agency. However, as the agency undergoes its periodic review, there is a risk the EPA could tighten its standards and push Minnesota into "non-attainment” with regards to either fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and/or ground level ozone. Trucks contribute to both of these pollutants.
Once you go into non-attainment, states are forced to adopt certain strategies to reduce those pollutants. Think California Air Resources Board regulations, and you can see why we want to stay in attainment.
Here was the big idea: What if those entities emitting pollutants could develop a voluntary program that both reduced emissions and kept more government mandates from coming down? That was exactly the goal of the Minnesota Clean Air Dialogue. As a participant of that group, I am pleased to say that we have developed such a plan.
Most gratifying is the fact that the plan recognizes the significant investments the trucking industry has made in its engines and equipment over the past decade. Rather than recommending some new regulatory mechanism, the plan supports the natural improvement that is coming as fleets turn over.
The plan also builds on many of the voluntary programs put in place for the trucking industry. With regards for mobile diesel sources, the plan made six recommendations:
Mobile Diesel Recommended Actions
Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Grants
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive for Fleets
Education and Outreach to Reduce Truck Idling
Incentives for Diesel Engine Retrofit/Repower/Rebuild/Replace
Emissions Reduction Guidelines for Public Fleets
Model Contract for Public Works Projects
We will continue to work with the group to now implement these recommendations. For more information about this ongoing effort or to obtain a full copy of this report, visit the project website at www.environmental-initiative.org. Questions can be directed to Environmental Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-334-3388.