The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Estes Express Lines $100,000 for failing to install diesel particulate filters on 15% of its California fleet. Virginia-based Estes is a for-hire trucking company that owns and operates vehicles across the U.S.
In February, EPA issued a notice of violation to Estes when it found that the company had not equipped 73 of its trucks with DPFs and failed to verify compliance with the Truck and Bus Regulation for its hired motor carriers.
The California Truck and Bus Regulation requires any trucking company to ensure that its subcontractors are only using compliant trucks. It also requires companies to upgrade their vehicles to meet specific NOx and PM2.5 performance standards in California and part of meeting that regulation requires the adoption of diesel particulate filters, which significantly reduce emissions. The regulation was adopted into the Clean Air Act plan requirements in 2012.
Estes has been working with the EPA on a settlement for the violations, according to company spokesman Nick Scola. Per a statement to HDT, Estes said it believed it was working within California's environmental regulatory standards when the violations occured.
Estes now operates only new trucks in California. The carrier also said it has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce its fleets carbon footpint in the past five years.
Of the 73 vehicles found in violation of the emissions standards, 45 were headquartered in adjoining states and traveled into California for local deliveries. The total non-compliant miles driven by the 73 vehicles made up less than 0.5% of Estes annual miles driven in California, according to Estes.
“Estes Express Lines would never knowingly be out of compliance with any state or federal law," said Rob Estes, president and CEO of Estes, in the statement. "We regret that the first-ever federal action taken to enforce the California Truck and Bus Regulation is associated with the good name of our nearly 85-year-old company.”
As part of its settlement with the EPA, Estes will contribute $290,400 towards a project to educate the out-of-state trucking industry on the regulations it violated and for the non-trucking related emissions cause of replacing old wood-burning devices in the San Joaquin Valley.
The company will also pay $35,000 to University of California Davis Extension to implement a state-approved training program for out-of-state trucking firms on compliance with the rule.
In additon, Estes will pay $255,400 to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Burn Cleaner Incentive Program, which will be used to replace 80 or more wood-burning devices with cleaner alternatives.
“Trucks represent one of the largest sources of air pollution in California, and the state has the worst air quality in the nation,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s enforcement efforts are aimed at ensuring all truck fleets operating in California are in compliance with pollution laws.”