The comments are in: California's auto service providers are no happier with the third version of a proposed regulation mandating tire pressure checks on every vehicle they service than with the first two versions.
July 6 was the deadline for interested parties to comment on the standard, which California's Air Resources Board (CARB) first issued early in 2009. The first two versions received mostly negative comments, and the third is no exception, judging from a sampling of the more than 40 comments submitted by industry associations, auto service chains and private citizens.
While each subsequent draft has been improved, the latest draft remains unacceptable and unsound, wrote Jonathan Morrison, staff counsel for the California New Car Dealers Association, in his comments dated July 6.
CARB legally is obligated to comply with the requirements of California's Administrative Procedures Act (APA) in implementing the rule, Mr. Morrison said, yet the agency violated the APA by adding a severability clausemeaning that if any provision of the regulation is declared invalid, the rest of the regulation will remain in forceand a clause expanding the standard's reach to business and government fleets.
We fully support CARB's mission of reducing greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions, Mr. Morrison wrote, but the legislature did not intend to allow CARB to achieve emissions reductions through non-compliant regulations.
The new version of the regulation places unnecessary costs and burdens on both auto service providers and consumers, wrote Jackie Miller, executive director of the Automotive Service Councils of California (ASCCA), in her June 30 comments.
This process started out as a good idea but now has become so convoluted and complicated that it will create many unintended consequences, she said.
Among other things, Ms. Miller criticized the provision requiring both the customer and the service provider to document the customer's refusal of a tire pressure check.
The customer should have a right to decline the check-and-inflate service, period, she wrote. Requiring affirmations is crazy. Is it the intent of the Air Resources Board to make criminals out of customers that don't inflate their vehicle tires?
Ms. Miller objected to CARB's exemption of various subgroups of auto repairers. She also criticized CARB's failure to define whether tires should be checked hot (just after they have been driven) or cold (after being allowed to remain stationary for a period of time). Despite the ASCCA's requests, CARB still has not answered those questions adequately, she said.
Most of the comments from garage owners were similar to that of Jim O'Neill of Chino Autotech Inc. in Chino, Calif.
This proposed regulation is so over the top it defies belief! Mr. O'Neill wrote. More radical and minimally effective environmental regulation is NOT what is needed!
If the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) approves the third version of the regulation, it will become effective Sept. 1. The original effective date was July 1, but on March 22 the OAL disapproved the second version because it did not meet the state's guidelines for clarity and necessity.
CARB made the corrections the OAL requested, necessitating a new comment period and later effective date.
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