Policy makers are gearing up to impose a new rule that is aimed at regulating warehouse emissions, however many industrial proponents feel the South Coast Air Quality Management is ‘stretching’ the boundaries of what it can regulate.
As the state of California marches on in its effort to phase out internal-combustion engines, or gas powered vehicles, many new initiatives are going into effect. Recently, Sacramento announced the state’s $17.5 million budget aimed toward expanding electric vehicle charging stations across its most rural counties. And now, the industrial sector is under the scope due to the amount of pollution caused by SoCal supply chains.
“About half of the air pollutants that contribute to smog come from the goods movement industry, with the largest source being heavy-duty trucks heading to warehouses across Southern California,” South Coast AQMD Executive Officer Wayne Nastri said in a statement.Bisnow.com
Warehouses defined by a square-footage of more than 100,000 SF will qualify for a new program designed to make operators ‘make up’ for the emissions from trucks. The Air Quality District has introduced a point system which will reward businesses who move forward with green-initiatives from solar panel installation, to having zero-emission trucks come to service the facility, or even adding zero-emission trucks to their fleet.
AQMD is further enforcing the program in applying mitigation fees—based on square-footage— to companies that opt out of participation which effects industrial business in much of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and Orange County entirely; Roughly 3,000 or more business totaling 750M SF.
According to AQMD, the fees would more than likely fall between the range of 83 cents to $1 per SF for companies that do not meet the requirements.
The new policies will bring to fulfillment research conducted by AQMD that hopes to mitigate the mortality rate of populations near industrial properties. Should compliance allow, the new program will yield 150 to 300 fewer deaths, and 2,500 to 5,800 fewer asthma attacks between 2022 and 2031. When weighing out the cost-benefit of the situation it was found that the changes will bring about a 3:1 ratio in public health benefit when compared to rule implementation costs.
Those who are against the potential new ruling feel that it’s pinning industrial owners against a rock-and-a-hard place because they often don’t get to choose which trucks they can use, or are issued. They also feel as if the AQMD is over-stepping its powers by indirectly altering the way warehouses operate their fleets. They believe it’s the California Air Resource Board who can make decisions on what types of vehicles are used to move product.
“They are calling it an indirect source rule,” Farkas said. The idea is that they are not regulating the trucks, they are regulating the warehouses, which are indirectly impacting the trucks and their emissions.
If passed, it may be a while before the new program kicks in since thousands of industrial owners across SoCal will have to gather necessary logistical information from tenants. Experts believe there is a high probability of this ruling being contested or challenged in court due to the recent logistics boom that attracted wealthy investors to SoCal.