Dec. 4, 2009
A member of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is calling for a review by independent researchers of the new diesel emissions rules for trucks and buses after learning that a researcher whose work contributed to the pollution standards in December 2008 falsified his credentials, reports the Mercury News.
One columnist is calling the issue the “California’s Climategate,” a reference to the recent leaked e-mails from scientists investigating climate change.
The truck and bus fuel emissions rule, written under A.B. 32, the 2006 law that addresses global warming, requires trucking fleets to acquire diesel particulate matter filters and upgrade their truck engines beginning in 2012, with the exception of small trucking businesses that will be exempt until 2014, according to Land Line Magazine. The estimated cost to the transportation industry is about $6 billion to $10 billion, according to the article.
The call for the truck rule suspension has also resulted in a brewing scandal at CARB as several California and national news organizations recently reported that several top CARB officials knew a year ago — before they voted on the Truck and Bus rule — that the team leader and researcher on diesel pollution was a fraud and did not have a doctorate degree as claimed, reports Land Line Magazine.
The revelation was discovered in emails sent between CARB board members, the head of CARB, and the California EPA, according to emails posted at www.killcarb.org, reports Land Line Magazine.
CARB spokesman Leo Kay told Land Line that CARB would probably address the situation and a potential change in the Truck and Bus rule’s implementation at its board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 9.
The scandal is calling into question the power and the response of the air resources board to the scandal as well as the legitimacy of the costly policy.
Despite the board knowing that the researcher falsified his credentials, his analysis was used to impose the controversial and costly regulations on truck, bus and diesel-powered machinery operators, according to an Examiner.com editorial.
A San Diego Union-Tribune editorial said it repeatedly criticized CARB for the adoption of “unprecedentedly sweeping and costly diesel-emission rules” and recently discovered that CARB Chairwomen Mary Nichols knew of the researcher’s fraud before the December 12, 2008 vote but decided not to inform the public, media or most of the board members.
The editorial also calls the deceit outrageous, citing Nichol’s explanation of the matter as a “distraction” and a “stupid personnel problem” rather than a scandal. In addition, the researcher still works at the agency, though he was demoted.
According to a San Jose Mercury News opinion piece, James Goldstene, CARB’s executive officer, said that although what the researcher “did was bad the science was sound.” He also said that no one was kept in the dark about the issue.