CALIFORNIA AIR RESOURCES BOARD AND STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL REFUSE TO INVESTIGATE TRUCK FIRES, ATTEMPT TO BLOCK OTHERS FROM DOING SO. THE ALLIANCE FOR CALIFORNIA BUSINESS WILL CONTINUE THE FIGHT!
When Judge Peter Twede of the Glenn County Superior Court denied the Alliance for California Business’s (the Alliance) request for a preliminary injunction, he indicated that Alliance needed to bring in additional details about the connection between diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and truck fires. The Alliance has accepted that challenge and with the help of its members and the greater California community, it will deliver that evidence to the Court.
The Alliance is now taking depositions of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) key executive staff members responsible for approving the DPF device as safe and mechanically reliable for use on California truck and bus owners. Experience – as reported by Alliance’s members and others who contact the Alliance – the DPF device is mechanically unreliable and the probable source of truck and bus fires throughout the state. CARB, on the other hand, claims to have “studied” the situation and concluded that the only problem with the DPF device is that the truck and bus owners just don’t know how to properly maintain it. The study, recently released by CARB, is a compilation of false statistics and assumptions.
Even more shocking, CARB reports that the “study” has never been reviewed or evaluated by a mechanical engineer, automotive engineer or anyone remotely qualified to offer an opinion about the cause of fires or the mechanical problems repeatedly tied to the DPF when in use. Instead, CARB relies on staff whose principal experience consists of tracking air quality statistics and a career right after college at CARB.
When confronted with articles, photographs, and police incident reports for dozens of truck and bus fires throughout California, CARB’s executive officers admit that they have done no investigation at all. The reason is the worst kind of bureaucratic response: “Prove to me that the DPF causes the fires and then we’ll investigate it.” Translated, CARB’s response to this lawsuit is “Catch me if you can.”
The Alliance, with the support and help of its membership has accepted the challenge from CARB and from the Court.
Alliance has already presented declarations from numerous truck owners and drivers, as well as experts, concerning the mechanical unreliability and risk of fire posed by the DPF device. One of the declarants, Hank de Carbonel, explained that the device “increases the likelihood of fires and explosions in or around the DPF system.” Other truck drivers described being stuck on the side of the highway or trucks taken out of service due to a multitude of mechanical problems all attributable to the DPF device. Many of the declarants expressed their concern and fear of fires and explosions caused by the DPF device.
The Alliance will now do more. According to its President, Bud Caldwell, the Alliance will investigate these fires and bring forth the experts required to prove that the DPF device should not be allowed on California highways. For every fire suspected of being linked to the DPF device, the Alliance has requested police, fire and California Highway Patrol reports. For every subpoena issued by the Alliance for this information, CARB has filed objections to the disclosure – with no explanation to date for why it would not want that information disclosed to the Alliance and members of the public.
The Alliance will renew its motion for an injunction – this time a permanent one – and request that the Court preclude CARB from requiring truck owners to install Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs) which are suspected of causing multiple truck fires and posing a dangerous risk to all persons who travel on California streets and highways.
“If the California Air Resources Board was genuinely concerned with the health and safety of citizens and not just with defending their mandate, why would they prevent anyone from looking into truck fires,” Alliance member Bud Caldwell asked. While the question of the safety and reliability of DPFs remains to be answered in court, it is clear now that CARB and the attorney general have a vested interest in hindering Alliance’s search to explain truck fires.
The Alliance has also asked members of the community – who own, drive, operate and repair trucks and buses – to come forward with information. The Alliance remains committed to step in where CARB refuses to go – to protect California citizens from being subjected to a poorly conceived, dangerous, and terribly implemented regulatory requirement – the requirement to have a DPF device on every truck and bus in the state. The Alliance needs the help of everyday citizens in this state to accomplish this task.