CARB should do the right thing and revisit truck rule

Just when everyone thought we were all set to move forward with the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) pollution rules set to go into effect next year, a wrinkle has been thrown into the plans.

truck_exhaust.jpgCARB member Dr. John Telles, a cardiologist, has requested the rule that requires the installation of diesel particulate filters on trucks operating in the state be revisited after he learned that one of the authors of the report CARB used to create the rule “misrepresented his credentials,” according to a story this week in the Fresno Bee.

According to the story, Hien Tran did not have a doctorate degree from the University of California at Davis, but rather an online degree from Thornhill University. The story goes on to say that board chairwoman Mary Nichols was aware of the discrepancy, but did not tell other members before the vote in December 2008.

The Bee article quoted a note Telles sent to Ellen Peter, the board’s chief counsel. “Failure to reveal this information to the board prior to the vote not only casts a doubt upon the legitimacy of the truck rule but also upon the legitimacy of [the California Air Resources Board] itself,” he wrote.

Telles is not calling for the rule to be overturned, but believes the board should suspend the regulation until such time that a new set of researchers can review and verify the legitimacy of the findings. Telles himself told the Bee he “doesn’t dispute the science” of the report.

I have no reason to doubt whether the rule is needed. But with all the problems in society today regarding the falsification of credentials, from football coaches to executives, the prudent course of action would be for CARB to hire outside experts to review the report to eliminate any possible problems down the road, and from that perspective, Telles is right.

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