California pupil transportation operations may get more time to comply with the requirements of the Air Resources Board’s Truck and Bus Regulation, which was drafted to reduce emissions generated by diesel-powered buses, like these operated by Kings Canyon Unified School District. The agency has proposed changes to the regulation’s school bus provisions.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, July 28, to discuss proposed changes to the school bus provisions of its Truck and Bus Regulation.
SBF reported on the regulation and how it will impact the school bus industry last month.
The regulation was drafted to reduce diesel-powered bus and truck emissions, and one of the requirements was that all diesel-fueled school buses must be retrofitted with the highest level Verified Diesel Emission Control System available by Jan. 1, 2014. (To read about all of the school bus provisions, click here.)
The aforementioned requirement was concerning to John Clements, director of transportation at Kings Canyon Unified School District in Reedley, Calif. Clements runs eight Crown Coach school buses equipped with large-block Cummins engines. Diesel particulate filter (DPF) manufacturers and installers have told him that if he retrofitted his Crown buses with DPFs, the buses would not make it through a day of service without plugging up with particulates.
“This is a serious safety concern for me as a director of transportation if students are stranded on a mountain or valley roadway,” Clements said in June.
Changes to the school bus provisions that the CARB staff are considering include:
• Adding an optional two-year deferral for public fleets to comply.
• Allowing school buses owned and operated by a sectarian or denominational school not under the exclusive control of the offices of the public schools to comply in 2015-18 instead of in 2013-14.
• Reducing the reporting requirements for a school bus fleet.
Mary Fricke, public information officer for the CARB, told SBF that the agency recognizes the economic impacts to the state whenever a regulation is adopted.
"With the recent economic downturn, the staff was directed to look for opportunities to provide some regulatory relief while still meeting the required emission reductions and continuing to safeguard health benefits,” she said. “The proposed revisions to the school bus portion of the regulation were designed to provide relief without increasing the complexity of the regulation."
The changes to the school bus provisions are scheduled to be proposed to the CARB board at a meeting on Sept. 23 and 24. The public meeting on July 28 to discuss the changes will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in conference room 720 at the Cal/EPA Headquarters Building in Sacramento.
Clements told SBF on Thursday that he plans to attend the public meeting. “I am hopeful this may buy us some time until we can obtain another school bus replacement grant funding source,” he said.
Those unable to attend the meeting in person can participate via conference call at (866) 917-4579. The participant passcode is 7167787.
Contact Janet Page, air pollution specialist, at (916) 324-1988 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.