Construction associations and firms are going all out to force the California Public Utilities Board to “reconsider” plans to require the state’s construction companies to replace billions of dollars worth of construction equipment as part of their off-road diesel retrofit rule.

At first, the Associated General Contractors of California wanted to delay the regulations until the economy recovered, but apparently the national AGC wants a full-blown reconsideration of the rules in general.

National AGC says that the economic downturn has already done more to reduce construction-related diesel emissions than state regulators predicted. CARB previously estimated 147,000 pieces of construction equipment would be present in the state in 2009, but have only located 103,000 pieces this year, indicating 30% of equipment was sold for pennies on the dollar.

“Forcing companies to spend money on unneeded equipment will simply deprive workers of desperately needed jobs,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, the national association’s CEO. “After all, there’s no difference in emissions between new and old construction equipment when all they’re doing is sitting unused.”

Prior to a two-day CARB board meeting scheduled for this week, the AGC sent out a media advisory announcing that it will release a new forecast of diesel emissions, hiring plans and business opportunities for California construction companies. The analysis, based on a state survey of construction equipment use as well as a survey of the state’s construction firms, will show, the AGC says, how proposed state diesel retrofit regulations are no longer needed to meet state emissions targets.

Attending this media event/conference all is Mike Kennedy, AGC’s chief counsel, and Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. Tom Holsman, AGC of California’s CEO, will also be there along with two current board members.

William E. Davis, executive vice president of the Southern California Contractors Association, is also asking its members and other
fleet owners tell their stories about the impact of the state-wide downturn on businesses and the level of activity of their fleets.

On a juicer side note, the SCCA is also bringing up a rather embarrassing incident about the fact that
the chief author of a key report used to justify the diesel truck rule had lied about having a doctorate in statistics from UC Davis. Apparently some board members knew
that Hien Tran did not have a UC Davis doctorate, but did not make the info public when ithe body voted Dec. 12 to requirie replacement of every heavy truck in the state. More on this later…