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INFO ALERT: BizFed defends jobs ahead of zero-emission truck vote

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Can you imagine having an employee tell you, "I can't make it to work because I can't charge my car right now"? Or having an e-commerce site tell you, "We can't deliver your package on time because trucks can't charge right now"? Crazy, right?

Unless California regulators change course on the proposed Advanced Clean Fleets rule, that's the zero-emission and zero-sense future we could be in for. Californians also face delayed deliveries, empty shelves, shortages of critical energy and water supplies, and disruption to jobs across myriad sectors.

We're speaking up for common-sense,
all-of-the-above energy solutions to prevail.

I'm grateful to Southern California News Group for publishing an op-ed I penned about the consequences of the Advanced Clean Fleets rule the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is poised to vote on as early as Thursday. The op-ed calls attention to the everyday impacts of the job-killing push to usher in only zero-emission trucks – and asks regulators tough questions about issues that have taken a backseat to the single-minded pursuit of zero-emission solutions. We can do better.

Click below to read the piece on the Los Angeles Daily News website. We encourage you to subscribe. For those of you without subscriptions, the text of the piece is copied below.

We thank BizFed leaders Matt Klink and Chris Shimoda for leaning in to help us weave industry data, recent headlines, and everyday context into a crisp narrative.

Jobs are an afterthought for California regulators fixated on slashing emissions

By Tracy Hernandez

April 23, 2023 –– You hit the “buy” button and expect the items in your cart — clothes, home goods, work supplies, food, medicine — to arrive within days. Have you thought about the people and vehicles responsible for delivering those essential goods to your doorstep? Hardworking truck drivers seem to be an afterthought for California regulators fixated on irrationally slashing emissions with first-in-nation mandates.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is poised to vote on a rule that would phase out the trucking fleet we depend on in favor of “zero-emission” trucks that cost approximately $400,000 per vehicle. That’s twice the price of fuel-efficient trucks on the market today.

The zero-emission trucks also require charging infrastructure that vastly exceeds the present and projected realities of California’s power grid. Gov. Gavin Newsom told Californians not to charge electric vehicles during certain days and times last fall due to the threat of a “brown out.” That’s the reality this CARB proposal is setting us up for.

Have you thought about how you would respond to an employee or colleague telling you, “I can’t make it to work because I can’t charge my car right now” or an e-commerce company telling you, “We can’t deliver your order on time because our trucks can’t charge right now”? Don’t let these concerns be an afterthought.

The proposal before CARB mandates the use of more than 518,000 zero-emission trucks by 2040 and up to 1.5 million zero-emission trucks by 2050. To reach these figures, approximately 38% of new truck sales would have to be zero-emission by 2040. These are ambitious, well-intentioned goals we have no doubt California will achieve in due time. But there’s no sense in rushing the process and setting ourselves up for failure. We haven’t even hit projected truck sales figures with cars. Zero-emission new car sales account for only 7% of purchases nationwide and 15% of purchases in California.

We face consequences more dire than delayed deliveries and empty shelves at the supermarket. The rule could snarl supply chain operations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where more than 2,000 trucks would have to be replaced or converted within the next two years. The zero-emission port trucks alone need 100 times more charging capacity than we have today. If they don’t run properly because of unreliable technology or unavailable chargers, we could grapple with shortages of critical energy and water purification supplies that keep our homes heated, transit systems moving and drinking water clean.

Premature adoption of this rule would dismantle systems that keep the nation running. And all for what? California already has the world’s strictest environmental standards. We have the lowest per-capita carbon emissions in the United States. Sensible Californians up and down the state fear their everyday needs are taking a backseat to lofty zero-emission goals. Economic resilience and technological feasibility have been relegated to the trunk.

The impact on jobs should be top of mind. Disruption to the nation’s nearly $900-billion trucking industry, which moves more than 72% of the nation’s freight, could drive other essential jobs off the road. One in three jobs in Southern California is supported by industries dependent on goods movement such as warehousing, manufacturing and agriculture. If goods aren’t moving, operations across other sectors could also come to a screeching halt.

The Los Angeles County Business Federation, widely known as BizFed, is proud to unite more than 240 diverse business organizations representing 420,000 employers with 5 million employees in Southern California. We’re not afraid to speak up when people in power pursue policies that threaten livelihoods.

We implore regulators to remember that climate progress isn’t a zero-sum game. Near-zero options that could significantly reduce emissions, such as natural gas-powered vehicles, shouldn’t be excluded from the equation. Regulators would also be wise to encourage adoption of smaller zero-emission trucks for final-mile delivery.

Let’s focus on feasible solutions. Californians should expect more than on-time deliveries. We expect new policies to support the integrity of our supply chain and regulators to listen to all voices.


We urge all BizFed members to call in with testimony during the CARB meeting this Thursday, April 27 at 9:00 a.m. The meeting may continue on Friday, April 28 at 9:00 a.m. if a lengthy list of people step up with public testimony. We invite you to pull talking points and data from this email and op-ed. Please contact Sarah Wiltfong with questions.

Zoom ID: 829 1800 6127


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Tracy Hernandez
BizFed Founding CEO