News Releases from Region 09
U.S. EPA requires trucking companies to reduce air pollution near Los Angeles schools
LOS ANGELES – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced settlements with two interstate trucking companies which will pay $225,000 in penalties to resolve violations of California’s Truck and Bus Regulation. The companies failed to install particulate filters on some of their heavy-duty diesel trucks and failed to verify that trucks they hired for use in California complied with the state rule. As part of the settlement, the companies will spend $575,000 on air filtration systems at schools in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.
EPA made the announcement at an event at Eastman Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles, Calif., highlighting the installation of an air filtration system similar to those that will be funded by the settlements announced today. EPA was joined by the California Air Resources Board, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the Los Angeles Unified School District.
"Heavy-duty trucks can emit drastically higher levels of pollution when not equipped with required emissions controls,” said EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Mike Stoker. “Transport companies must comply with California's rule to improve air quality and protect adjacent schools and communities from breathing these toxic pollutants.”
Schneider National, Inc. operated 150 heavy-duty diesel trucks in California from 2013 to 2016 without the required diesel particulate filters. In addition, the company failed to verify that nearly 1,200 of the carriers it hired in California complied with the Truck and Bus rule. The company, headquartered in Green Bay, WI, will pay a $125,000 penalty and spend $350,000 on air filtration projects at schools located near freeways in the Los Angeles area.
Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. operated 117 heavy-duty diesel trucks in California from 2013 to 2016 without the required diesel particulate filters. The company did not verify 64 of the carriers it hired in California complied with the Truck and Bus rule. The company, headquartered in Thomasville, N.C., will pay a $100,000 penalty and spend $225,000 on air filtration projects at schools in the Rialto area.
“California’s Truck and Bus Rule is providing the emissions reductions necessary to help meet federal air quality standards,” said Todd Sax, California Air Resources Board Enforcement Chief. “This settlement shows that all fleets operating in California, including national fleets based in other states, must comply with regulatory requirements.”
The air filtration system will be installed at both the Eastman Avenue Elementary School campus and the Eastman Avenue Early Education Center located directly across the street. These are two of approximately eight schools in the Los Angeles and Rialto areas that will receive funding for air filtration systems from recent EPA Truck and Bus rule settlements, including those announced today. The Eastman Avenue campus is within two blocks of a major freeway. These air filtration systems reduce exposure to ultrafine particulate matter and black carbon emitted from trucks operating on nearby highways.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District will verify performance of the systems and training of school staff. The project at Eastman Avenue Elementary School includes a ten-year supply of replacement filters, which are expected to remove more than 90 percent of ultrafine particulate matter and black carbon. Schools near major freeways can be exposed to high levels of traffic pollution. Studies have shown that improved indoor air quality in classrooms increases productivity and improves attendance and performance in both adults and students.
“This is an innovative approach to protect public health and hold violators accountable to the communities where they operate,” said Wayne Nastri, executive officer for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “We are pleased to offer our expertise and support for this project.”
“The wellness of our students and staff is a priority at L.A. Unified. We are grateful to the U.S. EPA and South Coast Air Quality Management District for their foresight and leadership in bringing these resources to our schools that need them the most,” said Los Angeles Unified School District Board President Mónica García. “Upgrading the air filtration system at the Eastman Avenue Elementary campus and the nearby schools in East Los Angeles will greatly enhance the air quality in the classrooms that are impacted by the major freeways and railroads in this area. We know that these improvements in the classroom will have a lasting effect on the lives and educational experience of our students.”
Diesel emissions from trucks are one of the state’s largest sources of fine particle pollution, or soot, which has been linked to a variety of health issues, including asthma, impaired lung development in children, and cardiovascular effects in adults. About 625,000 trucks are registered outside of the state, but operate in California and are subject to the rule. Many of these vehicles are older models and emit high amounts of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. The rule, which requires diesel trucks and buses that operate in California to be upgraded to reduce diesel emissions, is an essential part of the state’s plan to attain cleaner air.
The California Truck and Bus Regulation was adopted into federal Clean Air Act plan requirements in 2012 and applies to diesel trucks and buses operating in California. The rule requires trucking companies to upgrade vehicles they own to meet specific NOx and particulate matter performance standards and also requires trucking companies to verify compliance of vehicles they hire or dispatch. Heavy-duty diesel trucks in California must meet 2010 engine emissions levels or use diesel particulate filters that can reduce the emissions of diesel particulates into the atmosphere by 85 percent or more.
For more information on California’s Truck and Bus rule, please visit: www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/regulation.htm
For more information on the Clean Air Act, please visit: www.epa.gov/clean-air-act-overview
# # #