I'm a 5th generation El Dorado County native. Both sides of my family settled here during the Gold Rush in the 1850's. They were Cattle Ranchers and Farmers. I 'm a graduate of El Dorado High School, with one year of College Education, but mainly from the school of hard knocks. You see, I wanted to learn to operate Dozers and drive Trucks. Joe Vicini gave me that chance. I worked for Joe & Gordon for eight years before going out on my own in 1983.
My wife Lori has been my partner for 26 years in this business and my wife for 32 years now and we are getting more frustrated by the day with increasing Government bureaucracy in our lives and business. The Government wants to tie both my hands behind my back and expects our business to keep going as usual and send in lots of Tax Dollars! My ancestors would roll over in their graves if they could see the mess this State and our Country is in now, both morally and financially.
In my eyes, "The Greatest Generation" from the 30's, 40's, 50's and early 60's is what helped build and make this country great. It's been downhill ever since.
We are rapidly becoming a nation of vegetables; we can't seem to do much of anything for ourselves, sending so many jobs and services to other countries.
My wife and I heard about the march on Sacramento by the Tea Party Patriots of California on August 28th, a few weeks back. That was what we've been waiting for! The beginning of the Revolution! And we wanted to be a part of this coming revolution. Thank you to so many of the people that came down from El Dorado County to the Capital to be a part of this very important movement. By the way, have you ever seen so much police presence? I guess just in case we "Crazies" got out of hand.
Hey! Any idea where the hundreds of billions of bailout dollars went last fall? Hell if I know, either! Credit is tight as or tighter than it was last fall when the bailouts were announced to help credit get flowing again for consumers and businesses. We've seen nothing of the sort - just more bullshit.
Do you know that 75% to 80% of finished lumber products that are consumed in California come from out of state and from outside the United States? Can you say Canada? In this country you can't see the forest for the trees! Obviously, we in the state are rapidly becoming a state of vegetables just like our once great country.
The latest problem, which is supposed to be the topic of my speech tonight, is the CARB issue. "California Air Resources Board", how many of you saw the signs on the Dump Trucks at the Sacramento Tea Party? Dump CARB, put 8,500 school teachers back to work. CARB, is making the construction and trucking industries spend billions of dollars to retrofit engines and buy new equipment to replace what is called Non-Tiered Engines built before 1996. Many of us know that heavy equipment such as Caterpillar is built to last 20 years to 30 years. So many cases, contractors are being forced by CARB to replace their perfectly good running equipment with new, state of the art, computerized equipment and trucks that so many mechanics can't even work on any more.
One of our new Peterbilt trucks has been to the dealer in Sacramento over 17 times in a little over a year's time. Thank God for an extended warranty on this one!
As of June 1st of this year, if you have over 5,000 total off-road horsepower, which is a large fleet, you were required by CARB to register your equipment. Whether its Tier 0, Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3, everything gets registered and gets a Red & White registration number on it. July 1st was the deadline if you have less than 2,500 horsepower, considered to be a small fleet. Even if you own just 1 Backhoe and you're an owner operator, you are required to register you Backhoe. And how are they going to enforce your registration? Well, we have regular cops, and in the last few years many of us have had encounters with the Mud cops and then the Dust cops, very soon we will be dealing with the Engine Emissions Cops! Courtesy of more state and county inspectors checking on us.
As of March 1st of this year it was illegal to add a pre 1996 Tier 0 to your equipment fleet. The market for used equipment is absolutely flooded. Whether it's a 1995 Tier 0 or a 2005 Tier 2, across the United States there is very little demand for good used equipment due to very little construction activity! I've seen equipment & truck values drop anywhere from 25% to 50% in the last year to year and a half. Just like everyone's 401k programs recently - just about half! And the state people think we're just going to run out and purchase brand new equipment to comply with their CARB rules?
I'm going to read to you an informational letter from an Associate Air Quality Engineer in Sacramento (a State Carb Employee!) pertaining to our on-road & off-road fleet, dated June 13, 2008:
Based on the data you sent over for you on-road and off-road mobile diesel fleets, I have determined a potential compliance path for the regulations. Since your fleet is biased towards older equipment, I would recommend the Percentage Compliance options for both rules instead of Fleet Average of Model Year compliance.
For the proposed on-road regulation, this will generally require early (2008) retrofit of 1994-2002 vehicles, plus about 12% to 13% annual turnover of the entire fleet to 2010-compliant trucks (2010-2017). There may be opportunities to install retrofit devices to meet the requirements at a lower cost, but these technologies may or may not develop. Trucks over 14, gross vehicle weight will cost $15,000 to $18,000 each for DPF "Diesel Particulate Filters."
For the passed Off-Road regulation, it requires 8% of the horsepower to be repowered and 20% to be retrofit annually from 2010-2014, then 10% of the power to be repowered from 2015-2020. This will require diesel particulate filters and Tier 3 engines for compliance.
Based on the current cost of these technologies, the On-Road rule will cost about $700.000 per year from 2010-2017 plus as initial $120,000 cost in 2008 (assuming that you apply for Goods Movement retrofit funding this year for 16 1994-2002 trucks). The Off-Road rule will cost $1.5 million annually from 2009-2013, then $1 million annually from 2014-2020.
This will total approximately $20 million in present value for your on-road and off-road fleet over the next decade - or about a long-term annual expense of $2 million per year. Ideally, technology and competition will reduce this cost, but this number is probably the worst case scenario for planning.
Assoc. Air Quality Engineer
Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
Yeah right - we're going to spend this kind of money in a recession? With very little work? Which by the way, the government doesn't seem to know it yet, but the construction and logging industries are in a full blown depression!
In the last year, our company has pretty much had to give up on these CARB requirements and instead we've focused on continuing our Health Care coverage for the employees and their families.
My shop manager has spent an average of 15 hours a week on the CARB issue for on-road and off-road equipment over the last 2 years in preparation for the registration of our fleet this past June 1st.
I don't know where this issue will ever end, but the Pacific Legal Foundation is currently suing California EPA over the illegal formation of the Scientific Review Panel that advises the California Air Resources Board. For those of you unaware of what the Pacific Legal Foundation does, it is a non-profit legal foundation that defends individual liberty against abuses of governments. Go to www.pacificlegal.org. We have a large group of truckers and construction people doing a fund raiser for the Pacific Legal Foundations expenses on October 8th in Woodland at the Heidrick Agriculture Museum.
Doug and Lori Veerkamp