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California governor nominates new leader of powerful air pollution agency

CARB has reshaped the medium- and heavy-duty trucking market

(Photo credit: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday nominated Liane Randolph as the new chair of the powerful California Air Resources Board (CARB).  

Randolph, an attorney, has been a commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission since 2015. 

If confirmed by the state Senate, she will become the first African-American chair of CARB, an agency that has reshaped the medium- and heavy-duty trucking market with stringent emissions regulations.

Randolph would succeed outgoing Chair Mary Nichols, who served for 13 years and is a top candidate to run the EPA under a Biden administration.

“Cleaner air is essential for California’s families and Liane Randolph is the kind of bold, innovative leader that will lead in our fight against climate change with equity and all California’s communities at heart,” Newsom said in a statement.

Randolph served as deputy secretary and general counsel at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2011 to 2014 and was an attorney at Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman from 2007 to 2011. She served as chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 2003 to 2007, where she also served as a staff attorney from 1996 to 1997. 

Under Nichols’ watch, CARB adopted a series of regulations aimed at slashing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the heavy-duty sector.

These included the signature Truck & Bus rule, a regulation requiring heavy-duty trucks in California to retrofit or replace engines in order to reduce diesel emissions. 

In June the board approved the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule, a first-of-its-kind regulation requiring truck manufacturers to sell an increasing number of electric vehicles.

Under Randolph’s (presumptive) leadership, the agency now will be charged with implementing the ACT rule.

It also will pursue rulemaking tied to Newsom’s recent executive order banning sales of gas-powered cars by 2045.

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The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to [email protected].