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Truckers want CARB rule suspended in light of cover-up

SACRAMENTO -- There are calls to suspend California's statewide Truck and Bus Rule because of allegations that research behind the legislation was tainted.

Members of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have taken to the media to request that the board suspend the truck rule, which would require exhaust filter retrofits and engine upgrades starting in 2011 and the replacement of pre-2010 model engines between 2012 to 2022.

CARB members Ron Roberts and Dr. John Telles allege that CARB had tried to cover up that the lead scientist and coordinator of the research used to justify the new emissions rules, had lied about holding a Ph.D. in statistics.

Hien T. Tran's Ph.D. was the mail-order version, according to local media reports, and senior CARB officials were aware that his falsified credentials before voting on the truck retrofit legislation.

Telles, a cardiologist on the board, wrote a letter to the air board's chief counsel, saying CARB staff failed to meet its "ethical if not legal obligation" to provide all board members with pertinent information before a vote on a state regulation.

Like Telles, Roberts is generally in favor of the rule, but admonished how it was achieved. He penned a 750-word guest commentary in the San Diego Union-Tribune last week, alerting the public to the cover-up.

"Today, air board staff defend the Tran report as one subsequently validated by 'rigorous internal as well as external review,'" Roberts said in column. "Therefore, no need to revisit the vote, they say. Some board members have gone so far as to declare, 'There was no abuse, manipulation or dishonesty of any type.'"

Said Julie Sauls, spokeswoman for the California Trucking Association. "As stakeholders in the process, you can imagine the frustration and disappointment with the lack of transparency."

Sauls says the rule, which would cost industry $4.5 billion, needs a more robust financing mechanism, adding that the board's research lacked a true economic impact analysis.

-- with files from Truckinginfo.com

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