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Public Citizen’s Testimony to California Air Resources Board on Advanced Clean Fleets Rule

By East Peterson-Trujillo

PDF available here. 

My name is East Peterson-Trujillo. I am a Clean Vehicles Campaigner with Public Citizen, a national public interest organization that defends democracy, resists corporate power and works to ensure that government works for the people. I’m speaking today on behalf of our more than 90,000 California members and supporters to advocate for CARB’s alternative plan, and to ask that it be strengthened.

I grew up in the Bay Area. I remember the smog of my childhood, blanketing the bay. When I visit my family, I am saddened to still see its presence. My family home in Richmond is a mere 3500 feet from highway 80, a route that thousands of polluting diesel trucks traverse every day.

Our neighborhoods are full of heavy duty vehicles that spew dangerous emissions and are major contributors to “diesel death zones,” areas where asthma rates and cancer risks are drastically elevated due to automobile pollution. Tailpipe pollution causes tens of thousands of premature deaths nationwide each year — especially in communities of color. Disproportionate exposure of Black and Brown communities to diesel exhaust pollution is a clear example of environmental racism.

This board can bring polluting trucks into the future and achieve environmental justice by adopting the ACF Accelerated ZEV Transition Alternative that hits 100% electric truck sales by 2036. Electric truck technology is here and strategies and funding are already in place to grow charging options to meet these reasonable and gradual goals. Trucks are on the roads for decades, which means the choices that you make now will have an effect for years to come. You will achieve greater pollution reductions, save more lives, and achieve almost $10 billion more in additional societal benefits by moving up the 100% electric truck sales goal to 2036.

Additional critical pollution reduction can also be achieved by adopting a dynamic compliance threshold for tractor truck fleets–fleets of vehicles that most people know of as big rigs, semis, and 18-wheelers. The current proposal largely fails to account for the varying amounts of pollution from different types of fleets. A numeric compliance threshold of 10 trucks for Class 7 and 8 tractor trucks would be the most effective way for CARB to help California accomplish its air quality and climate goals. At this threshold, nearly 90 percent of emissions from California big rigs would be covered under the rule, while only regulating 13 percent of fleets.

I urge you to adopt a plan that phases out internal combustion engines by 2036 and regulates fleets of Class 7 and 8 tractors starting at 10 trucks. Thank you for your time and leadership.

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