In a commentary in the Sacramento Bee, Dan Walters says there were "a few facts missing from both [Attorney General Bill] Lockyer's press release and the Southern California media accounts."
The settlement requires Ralphs, Safeway/Vons and Albertsons to buy new alternative-fueled distribution trucks, reduce truck idling at their distribution centers and send out notices of the health effects of diesel exhaust to nearby residents. But according to Walters, taxpayers may end up footing the bill.
"A sharp-eyed reporter for the San Francisco Daily Journal spotted one salient fact in the settlement agreement," Walters writes. "The taxpayers will be underwriting the program to replace diesel engines with those using natural gas, somewhere between $3 million and $4 million."
The requirement for grocers to buy 150 new alternative fueled trucks is contingent on the grocers' ability to get government funding "in an amount sufficient to pay the incremental cost of converting diesel trucks," according to the settlement agreement. If the public money isn't made available, the conversion requirement will be lifted.