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State Proposes Electrification of Diesel Truck Fleets to Further Smog Reduction

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A proposed state mandate, that would aim to get businesses that operate fleets of diesel trucks to transition to zero emissions vehicles will soon be released for public review. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports, the rule has the potential to improve the Inland Empires’ air quality issues that have worsened since the region’s logistics industry boom.

The Advanced Clean Fleets program, proposed by the California's Air Resources Board, seeks to address the trucking industry’s outsized impact on toxic air quality. If adopted it would be hugely beneficial to the Inland Empire which sees diesel trucks drive in and out of neighborhoods at all hours on their way to warehouses says Andrea Vidaurre, senior policy analyst for the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice.

“For decades community members have said diesel and other combustion vehicles don’t belong in neighborhoods because of the health impacts, and unfortunately they still transit in and out of communities,” says Vidaurre.

She describes the program as the next logical step after the state’s Advanced Clean Truck rule was adopted last year. That rule sets goals for manufacturers to start developing zero-emissions models.

“Yeah you could say the Advanced Clean Truck Mandate was the supply," says Vidaurre. "We needed manufacturers to be able to supply a bunch of electric trucks, and then this now becomes the demand.”

Momentum has been building in support of the health benefits the program would bring, with leaders from the American Lung Association sending a letter of support last week. A growing list of California businesses are also voicing support with 23 companies and business groups that represent trillions in state economic activity signing onto a second letter.

“The business community in California may not always be homogenous," says Andy Wunder of E2, one of the business groups that signed the letter. "And there is a lot of excitement from our clean energy companies and fleet owners and operators to see this Advanced Clean Fleet rule come through.”

Wunder leads west coast policy work for E2, a non-partisan group of business leaders with the mission to advocate for policies that are good for the economy and the environment. He says the rule has the potential to accelerate green job growth and California’s exports of green technology as other states and countries move to zero emissions transportation, but it needs to be even stronger.

“It’s a good start, but it’s not quite strong enough to really capture the economic development opportunities, the climate action opportunities and the public health opportunities that Californians and our economy deserves,” says Wunder.

The state’s Air Resources Board has additional workshops planed for the rule in April and June, but no date has been set for adoption.