Have clean air regulations gone too far in California?

It's difficult to do construction work in California

Nobody likes to say that they are trashing the enviroment or that they are leaving a mess for their kids to clean up, but how far does that go. Perhaps a good insight into how far it can go is the State of California.

When one wants to do construction, agricultural, demolition, quarrying, mining, etc., work in the state of California, one obviously needs to have and run heavy equipment. Especially in this not so great economy, most people run slightly older used equipment. The problem is that the State of California for the most part requires that one run a tier two engine or better. For those of you who do not know as much about industrial engines, all engines made prior to the 1990's (and most of the ones manufactured in the 1990's- especially ones not made by Caterpillar) are tier 0's, until the 2000's mostly (sometimes 1995 and up in Caterpillar)- and in many cases until 2005- tier 1's, between 2005 and 2007 (and in Caterpillar sometimes there are tier 2's starting around 1999) tier 2's, between 2007 and 2009 in Caterpillar (and in some other brands it is hard to even find between between '07 and '09) tier 3's, from '09 in some Caterpillar machines and even up through right now in Caterpillar (and not so prevalent for the most part in other machine and engine brands) tier 4's.

There is much reason why people like to run used equipment: It's far more cost effective and gets nearly the same performance. For example, a 2012 Cat 627 scraper new can cost $800,000. A 1970 Cat 627 in good condition can cost about $30,000. If you don't have a lot of money lying around, if you get a job that requires five machines, unless you can run the cheaper equipment, your bids on jobs will be too high to be competitive, and without winning any bids on jobs, you will soon go out of business. Why not run newer used equipment? Well, using the example of the Cat 627 scraper, a good 2007 Cat 627 can cost $400,000. Still not making your bids too much more attractive. Put a new engine in an old one? You can spend close to $50,000, while slightly increasing the value of your equipment, making you very vulnerable if you need to sell a piece or two off. With the State of California forcing everybody into a corner where you have to buy pricey equipment or rent at high rates, building becomes more expensive, highway projects get more expensive (and Sacramento is happy to pass those expenses on to the California taxpayer), and it becomes harder to start out new, because it cost so much to. As a result, there are less jobs generated, and the economy worsens further, all while increasing the cost of living.

Perhaps it's time for a gut check. While we don't want to leave a mess for our kids tomorrow, we need to feed them today. This can't keep going on this way.

I understand if the State of California wants to retain some restrictions, but can't they switch it to Tier 1 engines instead of tier 2's? Using the 627 example, a 1998 Cat 627 can cost about $150,000. At least you would have a chance now. Better would be if they permitted all engines after 1979, even though that would be permitting tons of Tier 0's. After 1978/1979, machine engines became more modernized emmisions-wise and less gas guzzling, while still being not so technical that they are easier to repair than the new ones which have to be brought into dealers for all repairs (something else that is a monetary advantage that older equipment holds).

The point is, the State of California could make it a lot easier for everybody involved if it just excercised some judgment on the consequences of their actions. Sadly, it may be asking too much to hope that the State of California would show concern about the ramifications of it's actions for it's citizens. (TO BE CONTINUED)


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