Two interstate trucking companies will pay a total of $575,000 for air filtration systems at Los Angeles schools to resolve violations of the state’s truck and bus law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.
According to the EPA, the companies also were fined a total of $225,000 for failing to install particulate filters on some of their heavy-duty diesel trucks and failed to verify that trucks they hired for use in California complied with the rule.
EPA made the announcement to mark the installation of air purification systems at Eastman Avenue Elementary School and nearby Eastman Avenue Early Education Center — two of eight schools in the Los Angeles and Rialto areas to receive funding for filtration systems from recent EPA Truck and Bus Regulation settlements.
The Eastman Avenue campus is within two blocks of a major freeway. The air purification units reduce exposure to ultra-fine particulate matter and black carbon emitted from trucks operating on nearby highways.
“Heavy-duty trucks can emit drastically higher levels of pollution when not equipped with required emissions controls,” said Mike Stoker, EPA regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Transport companies must comply with California’s rule to improve air quality and protect adjacent schools and communities from breathing these toxic pollutants.”
Schneider National Inc. operated 150 heavy-duty diesel trucks in California from 2013 to 2016 without the required diesel particulate filters.
In addition, the company failed to verify that almost 1,200 of the carriers it hired in California complied with state regulations, according to EPA.
The Green Bay, Wisconsin company will pay a $125,000 penalty and spend $350,000 on air filtration projects at schools located near freeways in the Los Angeles area, according to the settlement.
Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. operated 117 heavy-duty diesel trucks in California from 2013 to 2016 without the required diesel particulate filters. The company did not verify 64 of the carriers it hired in California complied with the truck and bus law, the EPA said.
The company, based in Thomasville, North Carolina will pay a $100,000 penalty and spend $225,000 on air filtration projects at schools in the Rialto area, according to EPA.
“California’s Truck and Bus Rule is providing the emissions reductions necessary to help meet federal air quality standards,” said Todd Sax, California Air Resources Board Enforcement Chief. “This settlement shows that all fleets operating in California, including national fleets based in other states, must comply with regulatory requirements.”
Diesel emissions from trucks are one of the state’s largest sources of fine particle pollution, or soot, which has been linked to a variety of health issues, including asthma, impaired lung development in children, and cardiovascular effects in adults.
About 625,000 trucks are registered outside of the state, but operate in California and are subject to the rule. Many of these vehicles are older models and emit high amounts of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. The law, which requires diesel trucks and buses that operate in California to be upgraded to reduce diesel emissions, is an essential part of the state’s plan to attain cleaner air, the EPA said.
The California Truck and Bus Regulation was adopted into federal Clean Air Act plan requirements in 2012 and applies to diesel trucks and buses operating in California. The rule requires trucking companies to upgrade vehicles they own to meet specific NOx and particulate matter performance standards and also requires trucking companies to verify compliance of vehicles they hire or dispatch.
Heavy-duty diesel trucks in California must meet 2010 engine emissions levels or use diesel particulate filters that can reduce the emissions of diesel particulates into the atmosphere by 85 percent or more, the EPA said.