OROVILLE, Calif. — New landmark rules adopted by California air officials are being called a major blow to the trucking industry.
The California Air Resources Board Friday voted to require all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold in California to be zero-emission by 2036.
Air officials say the decision will cut down on emissions from locomotives. It's estimated to prevent more than 5,000 premature deaths by 2050.
Still, some question whether the state will be able to adapt quick enough to the change. According to the California Trucking Association (CTA), the state will need to build 400 heavy-duty truck charging units every month between now and the time the mandate fully takes effect.
Owners of small trucking companies say Friday's decision is just one of a series of blows dealt to them by air regulators.
"We were a busting growing business with our old trucks. We were growing, we were hiring employees," said Jace Crosswell, owner of Crosswell Trucking and North Valley Wood and Aggregate Recycling. "Ever since the laws of air quality have hit us, we started to downsize and just shrink and we are shrinking real fast and may not make it through it.
Crosswell says he's spent close to $1 million trying to acclimate to recent air regulations but fears by 2036, his company will no longer be able to afford the costs associated with the regulations.
"I think they should have implemented more of a slow reaction and worked with us a little bit," he said. "Everybody wants clean air and clean water. There’s nobody who does it but to run over business in the wake of trying to get clean air is I think is a little bit harsh."
KRCR also spoke to CTA Friday. They call the decision from "extremely concerning."
"The lack of charging infrastructure. We’re not even close to being there. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the battery, the longer the charge," said Eric Sauer, CEO of CTA. "It’s not like pulling up your zero emission car at the supermarket and plugging it in and doing your shopping and getting it done and coming out. There's a lot of downtime."
Meanwhile, in a statement Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom celebrated the vote, saying it moves the state another step closer to healthier neighborhoods.