Op-Ed: In an Emergency Call (CARB)
by Betty Plowman
Supposedly El Nino is on its way. While we all want rain, I was reminded of past years that saw floods, many of which I worked on operating my dump truck.
While Sierra Ski Resorts are now celebrating recent snowfalls, I thought back to December of 1996. Lots of snow for Christmas Vacation meant the resorts would be operating at capacity. But then came dreaded news, the “Pineapple Express” (warm storms) was headed our way. Massive rainfall would melt the snowpack. It did.
I along with 100 plus other truckers were called in to begin repairs on Highway 49, which had completely washed away when the Yuba River flooded, destroying the highway. Twelve hour shifts, seven days a week we worked until repairs were made.
The next destination was Manteca, where the levee along the San Joaquin River had given way. This was in an area with a large amount of dairies. I remember many cows drowned, and of course businesses and homes destroyed. During this same time levees along the American, Feather, Tuolumne and Sacramento rivers failed.
An analysis of this massive flooding is in a report written by Paul W. O’Brien, Ph.D. California State University Stanislaus, in which he stated, “Another major problem that occurred related to the procurement of necessary supplies and equipment – particularly large earthmoving equipment.” Remember folks dump trucks are earth moving equipment.
I write of this now because of massive changes that have taken place in California. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) made rules eliminating approximately 50% of dump trucks registered in California by December 31, 2015 (45 days from now). At which time, any truck with an engine older than 2007, or who have not installed a Diesel Particulate Filter upwards of $20,000, will no longer be allowed to operate legally within the borders of our state. Draconian fines designed to financially destroy offenders will be assessed on anyone operating a forbidden truck. Why? Because you will obey Comrade-CARB.
While I am sure in the event of a catastrophic event CARB would be forced to allow these trucks to operate. Great, but here is the problem: they will no longer physically exist. As the deadline looms, most operators who are still in business today will cancel their permits, vehicle licenses and insurance not to mention scraping their trucks or selling them out of state. As residents wait for emergency equipment to arrive will they be told they must wait for trucks to come from other states? What will that cost the businesses and taxpayers? The trucking industry has the means to clean up without the destruction CARB causes. I presented factual data to their board. They simply are not interested in facts debunking their preconceived conclusions.
An opacity test (smog check) will weed out offenders. Test each truck yearly only those who failed could not re-register. Why wasn’t this used? Too simple? Not enough control over the masses? Apparently not for Comrade-CARB.
Many in this industry take great pride in their trucks keeping them in tip top shape no smoke being omitted. But not good enough for Comrade-CARB; it’s been especially difficult for older truckers nearing retirement who cannot take on the debt of a new truck $160,000 + or a $20,000 filter.
While I pray these events don’t materialize. You should know it took 20,000 dump truck loads and 5 days to clear Highway 58 in the last storm. Yes sir, in an emergency call Comrade-CARB, but they may be stuck in the mud too.
This op-ed was originally published on Nov. 16, 2015 in the Daily Republic