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OTA report questions relevancy of Drive Clean
TORONTO, (May 11, 2005) -- Ontario trucks under seven years of age should no longer be required to undergo Drive Clean tests based on the current pass rate for the industry, the Ontario Trucking Association insists. As promised, the OTA has taken its concerns with the controversial emission testing program to the government. The trucking group and other stakeholders are currently involved in a review of Drive Clean in order to assess the impact of the program on the trucking industry and determine if changes are needed. OTA is strongly opposed to many aspects of the program. It says Drive Clean should focus more on road enforcement and not submit trucks to a periodic test. Furthermore, if tests are to be continued, trucks should not be subjected until after their seventh year. Recently the Ministry of the Environment released a study defending much of the program. OTA commissioned its own scientific peer review of the study authored by environmental consulting firm Sierra Research. Sierra Research raised five key questions in the their review of the Drive Clean document: Poor documentation of data used to calculate projected emission savings of Drive Clean; The scientific model used to project the emission savings needs to be validated; An overestimation of the program benefits may have occurred by failing to account for travel by trucks out of Ontario; How the scientific model was used in the Drive Clean report may have been incorrect; The findings that the Drive Clean program will reduce NOx emissions is at odds with data from studies of heavy-duty diesel inspection programs where NOx emissions have actually been measured. The MoE has agreed to review these possible issues with the outcomes of their study. Meanwhile, the ministry has relaxed testing rules for the cleanest trucks in the province over the last two years. Trucks that go above and beyond the new emission benchmarks (trucks older than 1990 face pollution controls of 40 percent opacity, and 30 percent opacity for models newer than 1991) are allowed to be tested every two years instead of annually. In 2005, heavy-duty diesel trucks of odd-model years (2001, 1999, 1997, etc.) may be exempted from testing. In 2006, even-model years (2002, 2000, 1998, etc.) may be exempted.
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