The Environmental Protection Agency hit two interstate trucking companies with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines last week for failing to install filters in hundreds of diesel trucks that spewed tons of pollutants into the air in Southern California.
The enforcement actions were part of California’s massive effort to reduce diesel-related emissions across industry sectors.
State law passed in 2008 requires diesel trucks and buses that operate in California to be upgraded to reduce emissions. The law calls for a phase in over time. By January 1, 2023, nearly all trucks and buses will need to have 2010 model year engines or equivalent.
“It’s one of their [the California Air Resources Board’s] biggest priorities; they’re doing everything they can,” said Joel Jones, assistant director of EPA Region 9. The federal agency collaborates with the Board on enforcement actions.
The Board conducts roadside checks and fleet audits around the state, said spokesperson Karen Caesar. The agency also gets tips from trucking businesses about competitors that are not in compliance.
“They know that competitors have not installed filters,” Caesar said. “And they have spent all this money to meet compliance. It’s not a level playing field.”
In 2017, the agency issued 3,963 citations for diesel violations. Thirty eight percent — 1,499 citations — were issued for Heavy-Duty Diesel Truck and Bus.
The latest cases involved Schneider National and Old Dominion.
According to the EPA, from 2013 through 2016, Schneider operated 150 trucks in California without diesel particulate filters. Schneider also failed to verify that 1,200 of its carriers were in compliance with emissions regulations.
Old Dominion Freight Line operated 117 trucks without DPF from 2013 — 2016. The company also failed to verify that 76 carriers were in compliance with California emissions requirements.
The companies will be required to pay a combined total of $225,000 in penalties. They will also have to spend $575,000 on air filtration systems for schools in the Los Angeles area.
Schneider sent Freightwaves the following statement:
“Once we were apprised of the situation we immediately took the necessary steps to resolve the issue. We remain an industry leader in sustainable operations. Our green commitment dates back 40 years, and we have a long history of working on energy efficiency and fuel conservation.”