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Calif. Air Board May Rethink Diesel Retrofit Rules

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) may take another look at diesel retrofit rules adopted a year ago because the lead researcher overstated his credentials. One San Diego member of the board says he would support a new study.

The rules require older diesel engines to be replaced or retrofitted by the end of 2010 to reduce harmful emissions.

Several industry groups ranging from farmers to contractors say the rules are too costly at a time when they're struggling in a down economy.

San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts said he supports revisiting the regulations and overturning them while a new study is conducted even though he expects another study will reach the same conclusions.

Roberts said he supports asking CARB to reestablish the research, which likely means redoing it.

“Nothing like this has ever happened," Roberts said. "It is not clear if a majority of the board will support a new study. The research has been peer reviewed and is probably OK. But the rule should not have gone ahead for a vote when the fraudulent credentials were discovered.”

Debra Kelley, who is with the American Lung Association in San Diego, said a new study is not necessary.

"All of the science that underpins the regulations are always heavily vetted by many, many experts with the California Air Resources Board and beyond," said Kelley. "So I would agree that revisiting this is not going to produce different findings."

The state air board could take up the issue at its meeting next month.

The California Air Resources Board determined in 1998 that diesel is a toxic air contaminant linked to an increased incidence of lung cancer and non-cancer symptoms of respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

Audio

Aired 11/20/09

The California Air Resources Board may take another look at diesel retrofit rules adopted a year ago because the lead researcher overstated his credentials. One San Diego member of the board says he would support a new study.

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