California Claims Diesel Trucks Are Racist

The race card is alive and well in California, and this time it is being utilized over diesel trucks. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), diesel semi-trucks are part of the state’s history of racism.

The board endorses a state ban, which is under consideration, of all diesel semi-trucks by 2040. This is to fight pollution and climate change as well as address the history of racist practices involving “low income and minority communities.”

CARB states that these communities faced decades of “racist and classist” issues that included “red-lining and siting decisions.” These along with freight and heavy truck activities led to “disproportionate pollution burdens.”

And since the trucks give off a significant amount of pollution, the surrounding Black and Hispanic communities suffer more negative consequences.

These neighborhoods, the California board emphasizes, experience pollution on a “national scale” due to being near ports that move much of the country’s freight.

The regulators claim that communities near major highways, warehouses, ports and rail yards suffer increased risks of cancer and heart attacks along with other health impacts.

A significant part of the state proposal is to require medium and heavy-duty trucks working at port and rail yards to be fully electric by 2035. Added to this is another requirement for all state and local government vehicles to be fully electric by 2027.

Andrea Vidaurre of the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice called the proposed rule “monumental.” She declared it is “the only way we can get diesel out of our community.”

Proponents estimate the move to all-electric vehicles would save 5,000 California lives between 2024 and 2050. Health costs, they claim, would decrease by $57 billion over the quarter of a century.

Trucking advocates, however, say the infrastructure is just not there for such a drastic move. The fastest big rig chargers take 3-4 hours, which is time delivery drivers do not have to waste. The chargers also strain the power grid, something that California is not prepared to deal with.