AGC of America this week filed an Emergency Petition with California’s Air Resources Board seeking a two-year implementation delay of its off-road “diesel retrofit” rule.

AGC cited the delay is needed in order to avoid unnecessary losses and layoffs within the state’s hard hit construction industry while CARB continues to review its diesel rules.

The petition cited new data that shows California's off-road diesel equipment will be well below current emissions targets for years to come.

“Contractors don’t need to retrofit, repower or replace a single piece of equipment to meet the state’s emissions targets for the next two years, and possibly even longer,” says Mike Kennedy, AGC’s General Counsel. “Construction workers shouldn’t have to lose their jobs because state officials want more time to review their own data.”

AGC decided to file the new petition after CARB failed to reconsider its off-road diesel rules during its early December meeting.

CARB hopes to complete its preliminary review of the latest data soon. However, since the rules will go into effect prior to the completion of CARB’s review and the lack of action in December left AGC with no choice but to formally request an emergency amendment, the AGC says.

A new inventory of construction equipment conducted by state officials found the state's off-road diesel equipment would emit far less particulate matter and nitrogen oxide than originally estimated. Because of the severe economic downturn and the proactive measures contractors have already taken to cut emissions, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions will remain below target levels for years to come.

AGC originally petitioned CARB to amend the rule in December 2008. At CARB’s request, AGC voluntarily deferred action on that original petition pending further research by CARB staff.

Meanwhile, the AGC says the state’s construction industry continues to suffer from severe market conditions. Federal officials recently reported that every one of the state’s metropolitan areas lost construction jobs between November 2008 and 2009, including El Centro, which suffered the nation’s largest percentage decline in its construction workforce. Since June 2006, a total of 328,000 construction workers have been laid off statewide as demand for housing, retail, commercial and manufacturing construction has plummeted.