The California Air Resources Board made it official last week during its two-day monthly meeting in Sacramento: It approved a four-year reprieve for its off-road diesel emissions rule, admitting that the down economy and flawed science contributed to unrealistic data.

�The Board�s decision to approve the revised off-road diesel emissions rules gives hope to thousands of construction workers fearful for their job security while safeguarding California's air quality,� says Michael Kennedy, general counsel of the Associated General Contractors of America and a lead advocate for the negotiated emissions rule change. �Board members have demonstrated real wisdom and courage in acknowledging significant errors in their original estimates of emissions from construction and other off-road diesel equipment.�

Kennedy adds that the revisions reflect a �strong commitment to setting standards based on sound science and reliable data.� �More importantly, the revisions allow hard-hit construction firms the time and flexibility needed to modernize their diesel equipment in a way that actually delivers meaningful environmental benefits to the state�s residents,� he says. �That is because the measure�s new timeline allows contractors to modernize their fleets with more efficient equipment coming on line in the next few years.�

Kennedy notes that the revised rule approved by CARB delays its emissions standards for off-road diesel equipment until 2014, eases the annual burden employers have to bear, and gives contractors greater flexibility in determining how to comply. The revised rule also gives contractors credit for the efforts they have already made to reduce emissions and rewards contractors for voluntarily reducing emissions before 2014. However, the final rule still lowers emissions below the levels that the board originally sought to achieve when it first proposed its off-road diesel emissions rule in 2007.