|SCAQMD Adopts CNG-only Rule 1195, Rejects Clean Diesel|
DIAMOND BAR, Calif. - After almost five hours of testimony from 72 persons in public hearing, the governing board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) voted unanimously April 20, 2001, to adopt Rule 1195 - "Clean On Road School Buses."
Under the amended ruling, beginning in 90 days and extending to 2003 depending on fleet size, schools and private school bus fleet operators with 15 or more buses are required to purchase alternative fueled vehicles, typically natural gas, whenever adding or replacing buses in their fleets.
A definition of terms in the rule does not include clean diesel (or Green Diesel(tm)) as an alternative fuel, but refers to the low sulfur diesel technology as intermediate diesel.
Using a tiered approach to requiring the cleanest bus affordable, school districts will be exempt if outside funds are unavailable to cover the cost of an alternative fuel bus and $13,000 per bus to build new alternative fuel infrastructure. Then, they may purchase an intermediate diesel, if funds are available. If not, they may purchase a conventional diesel fitted with a California Air Resources Board (CARB)-approved emissions control device.
Prior to the vote, seven amendments were made to the ruling. A proposed amendment by Supervisor Mike Antonovich to allow school districts to choose either Green Diesel(tm) buses or natural gas buses received only one vote, from board member James Silva-and ultimately failed.
The atmosphere at the AQMD was intense, even in the parking lot prior to the hearings. A coalition including environmental groups and school children wearing buttons with the words Dump Diesel, set up a microphone and podium in front of a CNG-powered public transit bus.
Those giving testimony on both sides of the issue included school transportation officials, members of environmental groups, a high school teacher and her government class, school bus contractors, school bus dealers, vendors and special interest groups.
As the hearings lapped over into the afternoon, the emotionally charged testimonials were shortened from three minutes to one minute. SCAQMD Governing Board Chairman Burke noted that the issue is a very complicated one. "In my seven years on the board, I listened to, and received, more pre-hearing testimony on this issue than any other," he said.
The AQMD is said to have available $16 million this year to help schools purchase cleaning burning school buses. AQMD staff will prioritize fund distribution according to severity of air pollution, community income level and other factors.
Visit the website of the South Coast Air Quality Management District to read or download Rule 1195 in its entirety.
|Last Updated on Monday, 12 October 2009 11:28|