Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
Nichols is scared. While citizens all over the state are starting to
realize just how bad and overreaching are new CARB regulations, Mary
has gone to full defense mode.
It was midnight on November 5, 2009 when Mary hit "ENTER" and posted
her missive on the San Diego Union-Tribune's editorial page. Says
even with all the progress that has been made, 90 percent of
Californians still at some time in their lives breathe unhealthful air."
Well Mary, "Some time in their lives"
is pretty ambiguous. It certainly sounds scary, but that is how you use
meaningless statistics to try to make your point. Read below Mary's
defense of the indefensible as she tries to justify regulations, all
based on the fraudulent, statistics of Hien Tran.
If you go to the Union-Tribune page,
there is a place to post your comments regarding Mary's thoughts.
Finally, and I know this is a cheap shot, I chuckled when I noted the
byline "By By Mary Nichols". Maybe that is what she is expecting to
hear in the very near future: Bye Bye Mary....
|Healthy environment and economy
By By Mary D. Nichols
Thursday, November 5, 2009 at midnight
has long been regarded as a pioneer in the field of air quality
regulation. Our ever-expanding population of 37 million people and 26
million vehicles, combined with our unique geography and climate, has
forced us – the Air Resources Board – to become experts at how to
reduce air pollution emanating from an amazing variety of sources. As a
result, new cars and trucks generate 99 percent fewer smog-forming
emissions than they did 40 years ago. Skies are cleaner and people are
able to enjoy the outdoors without gasping. But even with all the
progress that has been made, 90 percent of Californians still at some
time in their lives breathe unhealthful air.
We have now focused
our regulatory efforts on reducing noxious emissions from big-rig
trucks and off-road sources such as construction equipment. Long
regarded as a reliable workhorse of industry, the nearly indestructible
diesel engine that powers this type of gear can easily last for
decades. But these old engines cost us in other ways.
Californians pay for our exposure to toxic air pollution with our lives
and our wallets. A 2008 report by Cal State Fullerton researchers found
that the health impacts of air pollution, especially diesel emissions,
costs the state $28 billion annually.
Some critics contend that
during uncertain financial times, regulations that may be expensive to
implement should be put on hold, significantly weakened, or abandoned
altogether. Recently, there have been calls to set aside regulations
passed in December 2008 that require diesel big rig fleets to modernize
and pollute less, starting in 2011. Also in the cross hairs is the
off-road regulation adopted in July 2007.
In response to the
poor economy, the ARB has stretched out enforcement deadlines and
assembled a total of $2 billion in state grant and loan funds through
2011 to help business owners comply in advance of our diesel deadlines
or to buy cleaner equipment than required – the largest pot of
financial assistance ever offered to help businesses quickly upgrade
Even in a bad economy, people have to breathe.
Children riding the bus to school or healthy adults out for a walk
should not have to accept increased risk of disease or premature death
any longer than absolutely necessary. Over the past 40 years, we have
set pollution standards for nearly every other source of toxic
emissions in the state, including cars, factories and refineries, and
we have heard the same arguments from regulated interests.
the diesel front, it’s simply a matter of fairness that we clean up
diesel trucks, buses and construction equipment. We have already
adopted regulations to clean up transit buses, trash trucks,
cargo-handling equipment, harbor craft and ship engines, as well as
diesel fuel itself. Before the new rules, heavy-duty big rigs and
construction equipment were the largest remaining source of unregulated
diesel emissions, responsible for 58 percent of the smog-forming
emissions and nearly 80 percent of the cancer-causing emissions from
mobile diesel sources.
We conservatively estimate these rules
will prevent nearly 14,500 premature deaths between 2011 and 2025, and
greatly reduce health care costs. These benefits have an estimated
value of $66 to $95 billion. There’s also the practical and, yes,
economic concern that if we fail to adopt these rules, we fail to meet
federal health standards and run the very real risk of losing billions
of dollars in federal transportation funds.
We have seen early
impressive results in San Diego, where the school district became one
of the first in the country to completely retrofit its 500-plus school
bus fleet earlier this year ahead of state deadlines. The state
contributed more than half of the funding for a fleet cleanup that will
help local school children and local communities breathe easier, with
an additional influx in federal stimulus funding allowing them to
complete the job.
And on the economic front, Cleaire, a San
Leandro-based company, employs nearly three dozen people at its Trade
Street facility in San Diego that manufactures soot filters that reduce
85 percent of the diesel emissions on older trucks, bulldozers and
other equipment. The company estimates that every five to seven filters
it produces create an additional new job devoted to manufacturing the
materials and installing the devices.
To insist that
Californians have to choose between a healthy environment and a healthy
economy ignores the reality that we can have both. Our clean air
regulations have consistently proved over the years that the upfront
costs to comply pay for themselves over the long haul through societal
benefits and better energy efficiency. ARB’s tough but fair and
reasonable diesel regulations will continue this tradition.
is chairwoman of the california Air Resources Board.