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AQMD to vote on proposal to regulate warehouses, freight facilities to fight pollution

Emissions-producing diesel trucks and cars pass windmills along the 10 freeway near Banning, California.
Emissions-producing diesel trucks and cars pass windmills along the 10 freeway near Banning, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

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Southern California is one of the most hazardous places to breathe in the United States.

Every year, more than 1,500 of us die from air pollution – more than any other region in the country. Where is that pollution coming from? Largely, it’s heavy-duty diesel trucks. On Friday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District could vote to crack down on these polluters in a controversial new way – by going after the warehouses they visit. But regulating pollution from heavy-duty trucks is tricky. The SCAQMD, a regional air board tasked with cleaning up the air from Los Angeles to San Bernardino county, doesn’t have the authority to set emissions standards, or require truckers to buy cleaner equipment.

The State of California can pass its own regulations, but they only apply to trucks registered in the state — and that’s a small percentage of the trucks that drive on California highways. To clean up all trucks everywhere, you have to go through the federal EPA, and right now EPA appears more interested in loosening automobile standards than strengthening them. But the SCAQMD has found a workaround. It’s going after places it believes it does have authority to regulate: the places that trucks frequent, like warehouses, construction sites, and rail yards. 

You can read Emily Guerin's full story here


Adrian Martinez, attorney for Earthjustice, a San Francisco-based non-profit public interest organization dedicated to environmental issues; he tweets @LASmogGuy

Peter Herzog, assistant director for legislative affairs for NAIOP SoCal, a commercial real estate development association which builds and owns warehouses  

Nick Weiner, national director of Justice for Port Drivers, a labor organizing campaign founded under the labor union International Brotherhood of Teamsters