Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Santa Says Attend CARB/Red Sticker Meetings in Fresno and Diamond Bar

Before your Trail Santa can leave the Recreation HQ to deliver Christmas presents to the OHV community, he needs you to attend the CARB/Red Sticker Meetings next week in Fresno and Diamond Bar.

As many of you know, the CA Air Resources Board has started a 2 year project to review/analyze both the evaporative and exhaust emissions from the “Red Sticker” family of off-highway motorcycles.

I attended the 1st of three public scoping meetings that ARB is holding throughout the state.  There was solid representation in Sacramento from the MIC, OHV Division and Commission, and user groups. The next two meetings (with directions) are listed below:

Having worked through the 1997 red sticker debate/fight where the concept of a functional ban of 2-strokes was being considered by the regulators, I was pleasantly surprised by the collaborative and cooperative attitude of ARB staff.  They stated that a BAN as a solution is not being considered nor is it a goal. As a side note, several of them are avid motorcyclists.

ARB staff made it clear that they want to work with us (OEMs, aftermarket, dealers, user groups) in this review process with an end goal of presenting (Dec. 2015) the ARB board with some “common sense” proposals to address red sticker motorcycle emissions with a special focus on evaporative/diurnal emissions.

They are asking for our help via information as to red sticker usage, percentage of 2-strokes vs. 4 strokes, MX/closed course vs. amateur events on public lands, etc.  They are also looking for cost-effective and non-bulky engineering ideas such as small in-frame charcoal canisters, one way check valves, non-permeable plastics/tanks, etc. to address diurnal emissions.  ARB is also looking for suggestions related to their testing parameters.

They will also be analyzing the red sticker issue in a holistic manner by looking at new mitigating factors such as most ATVs now have stringent EPA-mandated emission controls, growing number of red sticker motorcycles that use fuel injection/closed fuel systems,  low emission 2-stroke oils, etc.

ARB staff is also interested in the current economic state (i.e. sales) of red-sticker motorcycles and related industry. Could new regulations kill production of youth motorcycles?  I think it will be important for them to hear from dealers and others on this particular issue.  It seems they are under the impression that off-road motorcycle sales are going gangbusters when just the opposite may be true.

Although this project is mostly focused on analyzing red sticker motorcycles, they plan to test some green sticker motorcycles as a control group.  These initial scoping meetings are just the beginning of the process and I strongly encourage red sticker-related stakeholders to get engaged with this process.  It is a rare item for a regulatory agency to undertake this sort of user-friendly approach.

The proof will be in the pudding (or gas tank in our case) on just how collaborative this process will be.  But for now, we should get engaged and offer our ideas/solutions related to the red sticker program/vehicles. 

Merry Christmas,

Your Trail Santa

1 comment:

  1. Don, big thanks for all your hard work in Calif. & BRC !

    I've found government agencies tend to "butter you up" in the early stages of planning, to get you off their back, then near the end of the process they pull the rug out from under you. Beware. But trying to keep a positive attitude, hopefully it will go well for us riders.

    Rider to Agency: "Do you plan to restrict.. XXX? ". Agency: "No, no plans for that at all...".
    Six months later: Rider: "I thought you said the agency would never...XXX". Agency: "Well, we found we had to...XXX".
    Agencies love to create new rules, especially CARB, to justify their existence, and they often target the next lowest-hanging fruit.
    (But maybe we a stronger than we assume?).

    I've heard it 25% of air pollution in Calif comes from China anyway. Clamping down on a few recreationists improves overall air quality maybe, what 0.01% ?

    Anyway, squeaky wheels usually get some grease. Keep up the good fight. And sorry for all the trite metaphors.

    BRC-Cal4-CORVA member