The trucking industry has become used to massive CARB fines for carriers who don’t update their trucks to meet emissions standards, but now it looks like the federal government is getting in on the action as well. For the first time ever, the EPA has issued a fine to a trucking company for failing to meet California’s rigorous clean-air laws.
According to the EPA, Estes Express Lines failed to equip its older model trucks with diesel particulate filters (DPFs), and in doing so illegally polluted the air in California in violation of the California Truck and Bus Regulation.
Estes has admitted that between 2012 and 2014 it operated 73 trucks in California that were not equipped with DPFs and has agreed to pay a penalty of $100,000. It will also have to contribute $250,000 to a program geared toward educating people and companies about clean air programs in the state.
According to Todd Sax, an enforcement division chief for the California Air Resources Board (CARB), this is just “the first of many cases” that CARB and the EPA will be bringing against carriers who fail to meet California’s regulations.
One major problem is that many carriers don’t even know about the rule that they may be breaking.
“This is a pretty unusual regulation,” says EPA regional administrator Jared Blumenfeld. “California was the first in the nation to put a rule for trucks and buses that are on the highway today, and roads. Most other states and even the federal legislation just deals with new engine models.”
To help combat this issue, Estes will also be fined $35,000 to fund a program which will teach out-of-state carriers about California regulations.