July 1, 2020 by Alice Kaswan

California Keeps on Truckin'

When California adopted its first-in-the-nation regulations requiring truck electrification on June 25, the state took a step (or drove a mile) toward reducing pollution in the nation's most vulnerable communities. The new regulation exemplifies a key feature of California's approach: its integration of climate goals, clean air goals, and, at least in this case, environmental justice goals.

According to the press release from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), trucks in California contribute 80 percent of the state's diesel pollution and 70 percent of its smog-causing pollution while constituting less than 7 percent of registered vehicles. The rule's environmental assessment explains that particulate matter from diesel engines is responsible "for approximately 60 percent of the current estimated cancer risk for background ambient air." These risks are highest near freight hubs, including "ports, rail yards and distribution centers." And these areas, in turn, are often in low-income communities of color. Trucks play no small part in the state's pattern of racial injustice, a pattern repeated throughout the country, as EPA's assessment of exposure disparities near ports reveals.

Building on California's existing zero-emission requirements for passenger vehicles and lighter pick-ups like the Ford F-150, the rule requires truck manufacturers to …

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July 1, 2020

California Keeps on Truckin'