State regulators are still open for business and toiling away (albeit some of them in their PJs at their home office) to develop new and more expensive regulations.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is a good example. They are going full tilt on new off-road equipment rules, including more equipment turnover requirements that will take effect in 2030, just when you have made the last payment on the new equipment you had to buy to meet their current set of regs.

The Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition (CIAQC) is trying to convince our governor to impose a period of “regulatory relaxation” during life under pandemics. ECA is a founding member of this respected organization and supports efforts to improve the business climate in our state, if at least temporarily.

In a letter sent to Governor Newsom last month, CIAQC thanked him for his recognition and encouragement of the vital role that construction plays in both maintaining and improving our essential infrastructure. The contractor funded organization asked for a respite in the tidal wave of rules, citing four essential CARB relief requests:

  • “Suspend any further regulatory development until the emergency is concluded to allow for a more fully participatory process and not burden business with monitoring new regulatory proposals during a national emergency.
  • “Order an immediate update of the emissions inventory to verify the extent of the reductions being realized by the downturn and your ‘stay at home’ order.
  • “Request a review of the existing rules that could be temporarily suspended to provide flexibility for heavily impacted businesses.
  • Identify rules that have compliance dates which can be extended, in order to provide administrative relief to the construction industry and the other ‘essential infrastructure sectors’ during the emergency.

One bright spot in the air quality regulatory environment came from the Portable Equipment Registration program that recently announced a workaround for minor regulatory issues, citing the governor’s March emergency order. Here’s the meat of the guidance:

“While portable equipment requirements continue to be in effect, we recognize during this period of potential delays in the installation of placards and stickers on registered equipment may occur.

“In the event an unpermitted or unregistered portable engine or equipment unit must operate immediately to alleviate the threat to public health and safety during this emergency order, please submit a completed Form 40 (Notification of Operation in an Emergency Event) to PERP (please see form for instructions) Questions? Contact CARB staff at [email protected] 

Better than nothing, yes?

By Dave Sorem, P.E. ECA Government Affairs Chairman email: [email protected]