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    Two Visions of America by Don Jans

    California Takes Biggest Step Forward For Clean Air In Over 12 years


    Lawmakers and clean air advocacy organizations celebrated the adoption of landmark clean air rules that will save thousands of California lives and avoid tens of billions of public health costs. The California Air Resources Board actions create a “smog check”-style program for heavy-duty trucks and also set zero-emission requirements for sales of new landscaping and other small off-road engines.

    “Smog Check for Trucks” is the single most health protective action the board has taken in over a dozen years. Spurred by Senator Connie Leyva’s (D-Chino) Senate Bill 210 of 2019, the Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance rule is projected to save over 7,000 lives and over $70 billion in public health benefits by ensuring that all trucks operating on California roads (either in-state or out-of-state trucks) meet their pollution requirements as a condition for operation (similar to long-standing passenger vehicle requirements). The American Lung Association and Coalition for Clean Air co-sponsored Senate Bill 210 as this vehicle category represents the largest source of on-road pollution despite only making up a small percentage of vehicles on California roads.

    “I am beyond excited that this historic program will finally be implemented across California and that it will result in the largest reduction in NOx emissions since the Truck and Bus Regulations were adopted in 2008. Just as passenger vehicles have already been doing for decades, it is long overdue that big diesel trucks undergo smog check testing so that we can continue to clean our air and improve public health across California. By keeping polluting dirty trucks off our freeways and roads, we will take an important step forward in further cleaning the air across our state,” Senator Connie Leyva said.  “The benefits this program will bring to our environment, our communities and the health and wellbeing of our families is a clear win-win for all Californians.”

    “This is the biggest day for clean-air action in California in over 12 years, and it’s about time that diesel trucks face the kind of smog check that passenger cars have had for decades,” said Bill Magavern, Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air

    “There’s no doubt the trucking sector is a major reason California communities dominate the list of smoggiest cities in America,” said Will Barrett, Senior Director for Clean Air Advocacy with the American Lung Association. “Today’s action is long overdue and must be fully implemented to save lives and prevent lung disease, especially in communities facing the daily onslaught of diesel exhaust.”

    Zero-Emission standards for leaf-blowers and other Small Off-Road Engines (SORE) will phase in starting in 2024. CARB’s adoption will implement Assembly Bill 1346 by Assemblymembers Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) and Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) which was signed into law in 2021 and directed CARB to set the zero-emission equipment rules. An initial State budget allocation of $30 million will accelerate the turnover of commercial landscaping equipment, well in advance of the 2024 implementation. Today’s action addresses the fact that the SORE category now surpasses the smog-forming emissions of all the cars on California roads, and addresses Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-79-20 to ensure zero-emissions in the off-road sector by 2035. This clean air standard is projected to avoid nearly 900 premature deaths and yield nearly $9 billion in public health benefits.

    “Phasing out small gas-powered engines brings us one step closer to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to the climate crisis and burden our communities with air pollution,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman (Menlo Park). “This will protect communities and workers from asthma and lung disease and allow all Californians to breathe cleaner air.”

    “Small gas engines are bad for our environment and cause asthma and other health issues for workers who have to use them each day,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (San Diego) said. “Phasing out these super polluters, at the same time that we’re helping small landscaping businesses transition to cleaner alternatives, is the right thing to do.”

    “Hands down, eliminating harmful pollution from leaf-blowers and other small off-road engines will save the lives of hundreds of Californians,” said Mariela Ruacho, Clean Air Advocacy Manager with the American Lung Association. “The transition to zero-emissions will protect the lungs of workers and residents impacted by harmful emissions on a daily basis.”

    “Help is on the way for California’s workers and residents who suffer from the lung-searing exhaust emitted by dirty gas-powered lawn and garden equipment”, said Bill Magavern, Policy Director at the Coalition for Clean Air

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    About the American Lung Association

    The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy, and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

    Bill Magavern | Coalition for Clean Air

    P: 916-214-0065 E: [email protected]

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