The federal government announced a plan in May to slash the sulfur content of diesel fuel by 97% in 2006, but the South Coast Air Quality Management District wants to set an earlier deadline of 2004, only affecting fuel in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Representatives of Gov. Gray Davis, the heads of the California Air Resources Board and the state Energy Commission, call the proposal unnecessary and risky, stating the LA region would quite possibly face a shortage of fuel supply and dramatic price increases.
But, according to AQMD Executive Officer Barry Wallerstein, the agency isn’t backing down, and plans to vote on the proposal in September. Wallerstein said the AQMD staff analyzed the issues and concluded that oil refineries will be able to produce adequate amounts of the new diesel fuel in 2004, reported the Los Angeles Times.
State officials cite the 1993 diesel fuel crisis, calling the AQMD’s approach foolish. The state agency has veto power over local air quality rules, so executives from the state air board say they will overturn the rule if it’s adopted.