Keep on Truckin’

I was enjoying my early morning quiet office when the phone rang. The man at the other end, Jason, uttered a polite good morning, asked if I worked on air quality issues, and then started firing questions on emissions and idling rules for his 15 year old truck. Did I know about how the federal regulations differed from California’s or Nevada’s? Would he incur fines if he did not comply this year, or was it just starting next year? Was it true that some states had grant programs for upgrading? How about tax incentives? How could he tell which new technologies would work? I was speechless and trust me when I say, I am rarely speechless. I mumbled a response and promised to call him back. Did we really expect every trucker to figure all that out?

I set out on what I thought would be a long day of tracking down answers. The answer came quickly and definitively when I asked a colleague who is an expert on partnerships aimed at reducing diesel pollution. She said, “Have him call Cascade Sierra Solutions”. Could it be that simple? Apparently so!

Everyone knows that diesel powered trucks carry most of our freight and that they last 25-30 years while exhaling a lot of harmful pollutants. Truckers want to/ need to clean up the legacy fleets – but how?

Help has come to many in the form of Cascade Sierra Solutions (CSS), one of our Environmental Award Winners. At CSS, they remove barriers to awareness, capital cost and regulatory information. They know how busy truckers can be and how hard it is for them to find answers about the rules of the road. By forming a unique partnership with public agencies and clean diesel equipment suppliers, they’ve managed to educate truckers through outreach centers at popular truck stops. CSS is helping truckers receive grants, tax incentives, and low interest financing to stay in compliance and reduce fuel expenses. In the past three years, this non-profit has placed upgrades on over 1800 trucks and facilitated over 300 truck replacements which have all accounted for over 5.5 million gallons of fuel savings. More importantly, they’ve reduced over 57,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, 475 metric tons of nitrogen oxide and over 11 metric tons of particulate matter – the deadliest outdoor air pollutant in the US.

Thanks to CSS, Jason will keep on truckin’.

About the author: Niloufar Glosson is currently on assignment to the Office of Regional Administrator as a special assistant. Until recently she worked in the Air Program, where she learned how critical it is to reducing diesel pollution.