At least environmentalists hope so. In a bid to save 1,500 lives per year in the Golden State, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted a bold plan to reduce the diesel exhaust emissions from diesel-powered ships, locomotives, trucks, harbor craft and other equipment used to move freight.
Though CARB is a state agency with no jurisdiction outside California, the impact of its latest move could be felt well beyond the state's borders. It has become common over the past two decades for emission initiatives first adopted by CARB to serve as models for other states and even the federal government.
CARB's plan includes a variety of pollution-reduction strategies, including regulations and incentive programs. The goal is to reduce emissions associated with freight transportation anywhere from 20 to 40 percent below 2001 levels by 2010. Specific targets include reducing emissions of NOx (nitrogen oxides) by 63 percent and SOx (sulfur oxides) by 78 percent.
The cleanup, though, will come with a hefty price tag. CARB estimates the cost of the emission reduction plan to be $6 billion to $10 billion over the next 15 years, though the health benefits (which it estimates at somewhere between $34 billion and $47 billion) will help offset the costs.