A Los Angeles city councilman is on a crusade to reduce the number of diesel-powered vehicles in Southern California.
Target number one is refuse trucks. Councilman Mike Feuer, in a Sunday commentary for the Los Angeles Times, notes that he has has introduced a law to require a franchise for the private refuse collectors that haul much of the city's garbage. A franchise agreement could require them to convert fleets to clean-burning vehicles.
"The science is beyond dispute," Feuer writes. "Diesel exhaust causes cancer and is by far the largest single health hazard in Southern California's air… Momentum to replace diesel engines has increased along with the growing scientific consensus that diesel exhaust is deadly."
Feuer was referring to a recently released two-year study that claims diesel exhaust accounts for 71% of cancer risk from air contaminants in the LA basin.
Not everyone agrees with Feuer's belief that "the science is beyond dispute." The California Trucking Assn. attacked the study as "sensationalizing." The Chicago-based Engine Manufacturers Assn. also challenged the study's validity. "The study takes a lot of shortcuts in its methodologies and assumptions used to make its findings," said EMA Executive Director Glenn Keller.
The LA City Council is also considering another of Feuer's proposals, which would eventually remove most diesel vehicles from the Sunshine Canyon Landfill. The proposal would calls for all of the approximately 65 trucks operated at the landfill to be converted to alternative fuel in the next three years. It also calls for 75% of all trucks using the landfill to be converted within six years.
In addition, Councilman Hal Bernson has introduced a measure that could eliminate all diesel vehicles from city fleets.
Both Feuer and Bernson are members of the South Coast Air Quality Management District board.