"Our communities cannot breathe, and we thought that our right to breathe would be worth more than a few billion dollars in transportation improvements."
- Katie Valenzuela Garcia, advisor to the California Air Resources Board
Remember the VW diesel emissions scandal?
The EPA went after the automaker in 2015, alleging that VW cheated its way around the Clean Air Act by programming cars to rig the results on emissions tests. Its cars weren't as environmentally friendly as the automaker claimed. As a result, consumers didn't have the "Clean Diesel" cars they thought they'd purchased. More troubling was research published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, which estimated that 59 people would die prematurely from the increased pollution.
New bill in California might open the door to more pollution
In a trade-off currently being negotiated by California lawmakers - and hotly contested by environmental activists - the Sacramento Bee reports that a proposed road-repair bill would let truckers and trucking companies off the proverbial hook for making upgrades to trucks that would reduce emissions.
The bill would raise fuel taxes and assess fees to raise the funds necessary to make road repairs. The trucking industry opposes these taxes and fees, but might be willing to accept the bargain if lawmakers let truckers skip out on those emissions upgrades.
What this means to Californians
If the industry gets its way, trucks won't need to be upgraded until they reach the 13-year-old mark (in some cases 18 years) or hit 800,000 miles on the odometer. In the meantime, Californians in highly polluted areas will suffer for it. "We are trying to be reasonable," Gov. Jerry Brown said.