Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The Business Review (Albany) - by Michael DeMasi
Owners of heavy-duty diesel trucks working on New York state projects just got a little breathing room.
They won't have to comply until 2010 with a new state law that requires filters to reduce harmful air emissions on older vehicles.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has put off enforcing the law until next year because doing so now would be a “hardship” on contractors and material suppliers that use the diesel vehicles on state-sponsored construction projects, said Deputy Commissioner Alison H. Crocker.
The delayed enforcement was detailed in an Oct. 27 letter to the Northeastern Subcontractors Association Inc. (NESCA) in Latham, a trade group that’s concerned about the impact of the law on its members.
The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act requires certain heavy-duty diesel vehicles with a 2006 model year or older to be retrofitted with particulate filter devices if they are used by contractors, subcontractors or material suppliers on state agency or public authority construction projects.
According to NESCA, the law was signed in 2006 but the implementing regulations weren’t approved by the DEC until this past August. Under the law, the retrofits were supposed to be done in 2008 and 2009. There are also annual reporting requirements.
The DEC estimates the retrofits will cost $6,000 to $11,000 per vehicle, although many in the construction industry claim it will be more expensive, according to NESCA.
Owners are supposed to use an evaluation process and pick what’s known as the Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) for the engines. They can apply for waivers since the technology doesn’t exist for all vehicles.
State agencies are responsible for making sure contractors follow the law. There are stiff penalties for not complying, including civil fines of up to $15,000 daily for the first violation and up to $22,500 daily for subsequent violations.
Most off-road construction equipment, including earth movers, are exempt from the requirements, according to the Northeastern Subcontractors Association.