Illinois truck drivers are voicing concerns over the potential enforcement of truck-emission laws similar to those recently implemented in California, calling the move potentially “catastrophic.”
The drivers’ concerns stem from a recently commissioned report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Union of Concerned Scientists, that reached a conclusion in favor of moving to no and low-emission trucks and buses in Illinois. This comes after the California Air Resource Board began its implementation of the Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Omnibus Regulation in late December 2021. The new regulations require manufacturers to comply with new regulation standards by January 1st,
The Omnibus rule will require that the current NOX (oxides of nitrogen) standards be cut to about 75 percent below current standards beginning on January 1st, 2024 and 90 percent below current standards in 2027. The rule also requires that the sale of all diesel trucks be banned in California by 2045.
“This report shows how the Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) rule and the NOx Omnibus rule will set Illinois on the path towards achieving zero-emission freight and mitigating the negative impacts of diesel-powered vehicles,” said José Acosta Córdova of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization.
“Sooner or later we’re going to get to that point, but it’s not going to be overnight,” said Don Schaefer with Mid-West Truckers Association, who said following California’s lead at this point in time would be ”catastrophic” for the trucking industry in the midwest.
“We’ve made great steps in the last couple of years, and it’s going to take a couple of years more to get to the point where we can have a zero-emissions fleet,” Schaefer continued to The Center Square news.
“It’s gonna be bad for California, but it’s also going to be something that every other state is going to look at and say, ‘if we do this then the total trucking industry from the independent contractor standpoint will be in turmoil…’ It’s across the board, the state economy would suffer immeasurably if we were to adopt some of these California regulations in Illinois.”
The NRDC argues that the move would create more jobs, boosting the economy rather than destroying it.
“The strongest scenario would add over 14,000 new jobs by 2045,” NRDC said in a news release. “The largest number of added jobs are in electrical component manufacturing and charging infrastructure construction, requiring many well-paid electricians and electrical engineers.”
Still, Schaefer reiterates that implementing such regulations during a time of high fuel prices and labor shortages would be “catastrophic.”