Industry makes progress in fight against dangerous CARB DPF requirement

Written by Nick Blenkey
Measure to fix flawed CARB DPF requirement was authored by Assemblymember Dr. Jasmeet Bains, MD

Measure to fix flawed CARB DPF requirement was authored by Assemblymember Dr. Jasmeet Bains, MD

In a major milestone for mariner safety in California, the California Senate Transportation Committee has voted 14-0 in favor of a measure that would prevent the California Air Resources Board (CARB) from enforcing a potentially deadly requirement in its harbor craft regulations. That requirement would force operators to install unproven and uncertified diesel particulate filters (DPF), widely seen as a fire hazard. The U.S. Coast Guard has already said that it won’t enforce the CARB DPF requirement.

The measure, AB 1122, was authored by Assemblymember Dr. Jasmeet Bains, MD

“These regulations would compel vessel owners to retrofit their ships with unproven technologies that could cause engines to heat up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and catch fire – endangering the safety of the crew and anyone around them,” said Dr Bains when she first introduced the legislation. “They could cause tugboats to lose control of oil tankers resulting in oil spills that will kill countless marine animals and irreparably harm sensitive habitats. These regulations are simply too dangerous to go forward unchanged.”

Testifying at this week’s hearing, Dr. Bains noted that her measure includes a requirement that DPFs include a cut-out allowing vessels to disable them, something that CARB has refused to consider.

Among those speaking in support of Dr. Bains’s efforts on the CRB DPF requirement was Kyle Burleson, director of state advocacy at the American Waterways Operators (AWO), which has long warned that the CARB regulation is deeply flawed.

“We are asking that before [DPFs] are required to be installed that a standard safety process is followed. Whenever new equipment is installed on a vessel, a third-party auditor vets the product to ensure it is safe and will not catch fire under duress,” he told the committee. “For whatever reason, CARB has bypassed these safety experts.”

“In our 80-year history, our trade association has never asked a legislature to intervene to protect lives onboard a vessel, but that is what is needed because CARB did not act before and we do not expect them to prioritize mariner and workplace safety in the future,” he said

You can read his full statement HERE

Also speaking in support of Dr. Bains at the hearing were members of the California federal delegation led by Congresswoman Michelle Steel expressing their concern at the Commercial Harborcraft Rule updates and a representatives of maritime unions, who expressing their support for Dr. Bains’s measure in a joint letter.

The bill will now go to the Calfornia Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

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