...oxide emissions by 5,200 tons by 2010. And by 2025, they expected operators would have to cut emissions by 182,200 tons.

AGC presented in December new data from the CARB, indicating that reductions in particulate matter emissions are not needed until 2014, and NOx reductions are not needed at all.

“The state’s new data shows that nitrogen oxide emissions from off-road diesel equipment will be 58,400 tons below the state’s target levels for 2010,” says Mike Kennedy, chief counsel for AGC. “Off-road diesel equipment operators will remain below the state’s target level every year after that through 2025, when they will actually be 173,000 tons below the state’s targeted level.”

Similarly, California first estimated that off-road, diesel equipment operators would need to cut particulate matter emissions by 910 tons in 2010 and 29,530 tons by 2025. The state’s inventory data now show that off-road diesel equipment will be 2,480 tons below target levels in 2010 and stay below target levels in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Kennedy adds.

In part that may be due to the decline in construction activity. California construction employment has shrunk 35% since June 2006, dropping to 614,000 workers, the lowest total since 1998, according to Ken Simonson, ACG’s chief economist.

“Looking at the economic picture, it is clear that the state’s construction industry has little capacity to absorb the cost of replacing otherwise fully functional construction equipment,” Simonson says.

Stimulus Money to Retrofit

Stimulus money could help companies in the Portland area prepare for tighter emission regulations.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality received $1.73 million from the EPA as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to retrofit heavy-duty diesel engines in public fleets, transit buses and off-road construction equipment in the Portland metropolitan area and in Lane County.

To receive money, the retrofit must equip a diesel engine with after-market emission-reducing parts or technology that meets the cost-effectiveness threshold; reduce particulate matter by 25% or more; be installed by a qualified installer between June 19, 2008, and Jan. 1, 2018; and use the most effective, passively regenerated technology, which has been verified by the EPA or CARB or comparable emission verification testing. The equipment must stay in Oregon at least half-time for three years after the retrofit.

Even if Washington and Oregon legislatures vote immediately to adopt the California standards, they would not take effect for two years. Several contractors contacted declined to comment. It seems the issue is just not on their radar as an immediate threat.

Collins, the legislative counsel for the AGC of Washington, says that while contractors are concerned about it, they are more focused on securing projects to build in a weak and slow economy.

“If we don’t have work, it doesn’t matter,” Collins adds.

Useful Sources:

California Environmental Protection Agency, Air Resources Board:

AGC of America emissions overview, state by state: