California Names Toxic Particulates in Diesel Exhaust Compromise
September 1, 1998
Sep. 2 — After nine years of bitter debate, the trucking industry, environmentalists and the California Air Resources Board hammered out a compromise regarding whether diesel exhaust causes cancer.
On Aug. 27, CARB issued its ruling that 40 chemicals found in diesel fumes must be listed as toxic air pollutants, including benzene and dioxin. The state must now develop plans to protect the public, a process that could take years.
The California Trucking Assn. called the decision a “fair compromise,” because it targets a specific problem — particulates — that can be tackled through cleaner fuel and cleaner-burning engines, rather than vaguely condemning diesel fuel as a whole.
The American Trucking Assns.’ president and CEO, Walter McCormick, said while the decision is a “marked improvement” over the earlier proposal, “the decision still leaves important questions unanswered.”
“Most importantly, CARB failed to reconcile the inconsistency between the way in which the federal EPA and CARB interpret the same scientific studies,” McCormick said. Earlier this year, according to the ATA, an independent panel of EPA scientific advisers, reviewing the same evidence as CARB, rejected EPA staff findings of a relationship between diesel exhaust and cancer.