State imposes engine emission limits on reefers
Jan 1, 2005 12:00 PM, By Gary Macklin
FOLLOWING almost two years of staff research and public comment, the California Air Resources Board published new regulations governing exhaust emissions from the engines used to power transport refrigeration units and the generator sets used during highway operation of marine containers cooled by electric refrigeration units. The regulation divides refrigeration and gen set engines into two categories based on operating horsepower.
The new rules became effective December 10, 2004, and apply with equal force to units operated by fleets based in California and to units operating in California on a temporary basis such as those belonging to truckload carriers making deliveries in the state or carriers picking up shipments for destinations out of state. The rule also applies to anyone involved in selling refrigeration units and gen sets, including manufacturers and dealers. The two horsepower categories used by the regulation separate units into those with engines rated at less than 25 hp and those rated at 25 hp and above.
Although the new rules are actually exhaust emission regulations, California labels the new rules an Airborne Toxic Control Measure, stating that the purpose of the rules are to reduce the emission of particulate matter from diesel engines. The state has defined the particulates in diesel exhaust as a toxic air contaminant and says that they are the primary contributor to adverse health conditions among known air contaminants. A scientific review panel of the California Environmental Protection Agency, in the past, has approved a staff report that says diesel exhaust has the potential to cause lung cancer in up to 450 out of one million people. The report also suggested that as many as 14,580 premature deaths in California can be attributed to diesel exhaust annually. The stated purpose of the new California rule for refrigeration and gen set engines is reduce particulate emissions from small diesel engines by 75% by the year 2010 and by 85% by 2020.
Recordkeeping for facilities
In addition to regulating exhaust emissions from small diesel engines, the new rule requires recordkeeping by all California business facilities with 20 or more dock loading spaces at locations with refrigerated storage areas. These facilities must submit a one-time report to the Air Resources Board by January 1, 2006, detailing the use of refrigeration engines at the locations.
This is not the first time that California has taken aim at distribution centers for exhaust emission control. In 1997, the California attorney general's office filed suit against four supermarket distribution center operators as stationary sources of diesel exhaust after issuing an opinion that it would be technically difficult, if not impossible, to prove that the exhaust from a particular vehicle or fleet of vehicles operating against the background of normal traffic could cause exposure to dangerous chemicals. The suit sought to have the supermarket chains place warning placards on their trucks and the notification by mail of the potential hazard for all residents living within one mile of a distribution center.
The issue of distribution centers was raised during the public comment period by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which said, “such facilities have generated complaints and are a major issue from an environmental justice perspective because the neighborhoods they are near are often communities of color and low income.” In response, the Air Resources Board said it would use the reports from distribution centers to determine if the risk to those living near a warehouse was higher than acceptable and to refine the health risk assessment and reduce the risk level.
Although the engine exhaust rule sets strict emission limits, it allows significant lead-time before fleet operators are required to alter existing units or replace them. For both horsepower categories, unit operators can use refrigeration units and gen sets from the 2001 model year or earlier until 2007. Following 2007, units from 2001 or earlier must meet California's standard for low emissions, which is 0.3 grams per horsepower-hour for units rated at 25 hp or less and 0.2 g/hp-hr for units producing more than 25 hp. Units from the 2001 model year or earlier that meet this standard can be operated in California through 2014 after which a different standard for ultra low emissions becomes effective.
The lead-time for units built during the 2002 model year runs for a year longer with no changes demanded for 2007 or 2008. These units are subject to the low emission standard from 2009 through 2015 and must begin meeting the ultra low emission standard in 2016. Only units from the 2002, 2001, and older model years will be subject to the low emission standards. Starting with the 2003 model year, units must meet the ultra low emission standard after a period of exemption. For instance, 2003 model year units have until 2010 to meet the ultra low standard. The lead-time extends to 2011 for 2004 model year units, to 2012 for units built in 2005, 2013 for 2006 units, 2014 for units from 2007, and so on with units built in 2013 meeting the ultra low standard in 2020.
To prove compliance with the rule, California requires that all in-state refrigeration unit and gen set operators apply for an Air Resources Board identification number on or before January 31, 2009. The application must include the name, address, and contact information for the operator along with the same information of the equipment owner if different from that of the operator. The application asks for the make, model, model year, and serial number of the unit along with the same information on the unit engine. The state wants to know the terminal or other locations where the equipment is assigned along with address and contact information. In addition, the application for an identification number requires the vehicle identification number and the license number of the straight truck or trailer the unit is mounted on. The application asks for the company identification number for highway equipment and for the railcar number or the marine container number for other refrigerated equipment.
The application must state when compliance with the rule was achieved and which level of compliance is involved. If compliance was achieved by replacing the engine in an existing unit or by using retrofit equipment under a verified diesel emission control strategy, the application must identify who did the installation work.
State-issued identification numbers
In February 2009, the state will begin issuing identification numbers. These numbers will include a two-digit prefix for the model year of the unit, a six-digit serial number, a check digit, and the letter L or U indicating compliance status. After an identification number is issued, operators have 30 days to mark equipment with the number in type large enough to be read from 50 feet during daylight hours. The identification number must be preceded by the letters ARB and must be placed on both sides of the truck, trailer, railcar, or container. The number must be placed on both sides of a generator set housing.
Noting that some fleets are based outside California but operate within the state in the normal course of business, the Air Resources Board says that those fleets may apply voluntarily for an identification number by submitting the same information required from California-based fleets. These out-of-state fleets would also be asked to apply the state identification numbers to refrigerated equipment or gen sets.
Explaining the application of the California rule to out-of-state businesses in a document titled “Final Statement of Reasons,” the Air Resources Board said it “does not believe that the recently adopted [rule] will impose a significant burden on out-of-state [refrigeration unit] owners or operators. First, individuals or fleets [of refrigerated trucks or trailers] will have until 2008 to decide whether or not they intend to operate in California and need to comply. Between 2004 and 2008, as a result of routine fleet turnover rather than regulation, most out-of-state longhaul trucking companies are expected to replace existing [refrigeration units] with units that meet both the proposed federal Tier 4 standards and [the California] standards. Second, staff does not believe that entire out-of-state refrigerated fleets, nor more than that portion of any out-of-state fleet that actually travels within California, will need to comply. Modern day truck dispatching uses the latest communication technology including global positioning systems. This technology, coupled with inventory and record keeping should allow trucking companies to know where each [refrigerated] vehicle is at any particular moment in time. With such knowledge, dispatchers could direct fleet vehicles sending only vehicles with compliant [refrigeration] engines to California. Finally, because of California's location, it is very unlikely that many refrigerated trucks will drive through without making a pick-up or delivery within the state.”
Rewards for early compliance
As the level of compliance becomes more restrictive, the state offers fleets an incentive to meet the standards earlier than required. This applies to units from the 2002 or earlier model years. If a fleet brings a 2002 or older unit into compliance with the low emission standard one year earlier than required, compliance with the ultra low emission standard can be delayed for a year. Complying two years early allows a two-year delay, and three years early results in a three-year delay. Reaching low emission compliance 183 days early in a calendar year provides credit for one year of delay for ultra low emission compliance. The state will issue a certificate for those units approved for delay. Operators must maintain a copy of the certificate in a watertight container inside the unit housing.
As an alternative to running certified engines, refrigeration unit or gen set operators can choose to retrofit equipment with equipment that meets the standard for verified diesel emission control strategies. To meet the low emission standard with retrofit equipment, the control strategy must reduce particulate emission by 50% or more. To meet the ultra low emission standard with retrofit equipment, emission reduction must be 85% or more or produce no more particulates than 0.01 gram per horsepower-hour.
All refrigeration unit and gen set operators that do business in California, including those based outside the state must submit an operator report to the Air Resources Board by January 31, 2009. This report must include the same information required for the Air Resources Board identification number as well as the identification number if one has been assigned. Civil penalties can be levied for failure to report or for submitting false information.
Physical facility reports
Reports on physical facilities are due by January 31, 2006, based on information that was current as of December 31, 2005. This report must provide contact information for a responsible official of the facility and provide all the North American Industrial Classification codes that apply to the facility. Facility operators are required to report the number of dock doors serving refrigerated storage space and the number of square feet in the refrigerated space.
Operators must report the number of refrigeration unit or gen sets controlled by the facility. This section of the report must provide the model year and horsepower rating for units. Operators must also report the number of refrigerated trucks, trailers, containers, or railcars that they rent or lease. The report must contain a total of all operating hours for refrigeration units or gen sets controlled by the facility for the year 2005.
In addition, operators must report the average number of weekly inbound trucks, trailers, containers, or railcars delivering to the facility during 2005. This number is to be calculated by totaling all inbound shipments for 2005 and dividing by 52. The same information using the same calculation is required for outbound shipments. Operators are required to report the average total number of hours weekly that refrigeration units or gen sets for outbound loads operate while at the facility. The same information is required for inbound loads while the equipment is at the facility. Operators also must report the number of trailers used for cold storage and the total annual hours of engine-powered refrigeration time along with the total annual hours that electric standby is used.
Facility report information must be maintained and made available to state inspectors on request for a minimum of three years.
Penalties for non-compliance
In addition to the performance standards and reporting requirements, the new California rules prohibit anyone involved in the sale of refrigeration units or gen sets from bringing non-compliant equipment into the state, and prohibit the sale, rent, or lease of non-compliant equipment. Operators of refrigerated facilities are prohibited from diverting refrigerated equipment under their control to alternative staging areas to circumvent the requirements of the regulations.
Although the state has published the new rule, it was not done without opposition. During the comment period, the California Trucking Association complained that the rule “is more far-reaching than any measure yet made by an air quality agency of the United States or Europe.”
The Air Resources Board dismissed the comment, saying, “The ARB does not necessarily concur that the [rule] is the most far-reaching measure ever adopted by an air quality agency, but will acknowledge that Congress has recognized the ARB as the nation's pioneering efforts in emission control and that it serves as the nation's laboratory for innovation. In allowing California to be the only state in the nation to be able to obtain waivers from the motor vehicle preemption [citation of specific paragraphs of statutes], Congress fully intended that the ARB adopt potentially more stringent emission standards and related requirements to address the unique and serious environmental problems confronting the state. Indeed, in order for California to obtain a waiver or authorization from preemption, the ARB must demonstrate that the adopted emission standards are more protective of public health and welfare than applicable federal standards and requirements. In other words, California must demonstrate that its standards are, indeed, in the aggregate, at least as stringent as federal regulations.”
The Air Resources Board is clear about its intent. In the “Final Statement of Reasons,” it says, “The [rule] is intentionally designed to accelerate the turnover of older, higher emitting [refrigeration units] with newer [refrigeration units] with cleaner engines, or to replace older, higher emitting [refrigeration] engines with newer cleaner engines.”
For a complete copy of the regulation and the Final Statement of Reasons, visit the Air Resources Board web site at http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/trude03/trude03.htm.
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