There’s nothing wrong with thinking decisions through
January 1, 2001
Lately our fearless leader in Ottawa has come under fire for his hands-off approach to setting policies on the global stage.In particular, Canada - the world leader in almost every left-wing cause - h...
Lately our fearless leader in Ottawa has come under fire for his hands-off approach to setting policies on the global stage.
In particular, Canada – the world leader in almost every left-wing cause – has been attacked for dragging its feet on setting an environmental policy as part of the global effort to reduce emissions.
Well I say bravo. Drag on Jean, drag on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in favor of pollution or anything crazy like that. Quite to the contrary. I love the outdoors, am an avid fisherman and a camping and canoeing enthusiast.
But I’m also a realist. It is critical to understand the importance of a strong economy. Hasty, headline-grabbing regulations (a-la our month-long election holding-neighbors to the south) place industry at a major disadvantage. Knee-jerk reactions are rarely the right ones. Better to take the time to examine the issue and come up with a realistic plan that everyone can live with.
Jean, in his own unique procrastinating way, has managed to somewhat shield our industry, and economy, from at least some of the enviro-growing pains being experienced around the world.
Recently I had the chance to attend the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) annual Truck and Bus meeting and exposition in Portland, Ore. For the most part, the discussions were dominated by the scramble to meet U.S., state and-in some cases-even European emission standards. With different guidelines popping up everywhere, manufacturers are frustrated over the fact that governments haven’t considered the fact we’re living in a global economy. If they had, maybe we’d have some unified guidelines.
“You can’t make money building trucks to two different standards,” one senior official with a truck OEM explained.
From a carrier’s point of view, unquantified allegations over nebulous health concerns are forcing the introduction of new technologies. These technologies have not always seen the full battery of testing they may normally get, leading to possible maintenance nightmares.
Tom Cackette, the chief deputy executive officer of the California Air Resources Board, spent a great deal of time explaining how his group has been instrumental in forcing the retrofitting of all trucks domiciled in his state with particulate traps. (Particulate matter is any solid or liquid material contained in the exhaust of an engine.) These traps act like giant filters, preventing by-products of combustion from leaving the truck. Depending on the design, the truck generally uses heat from the engine to regenerate, or burn clean, the filter. Great right? Well, not exactly. From what the engineers tell me, for P&D fleets (and possibly other non-over-the-road applications as well) equipment likely won’t operate at temperatures high enough to clean the filter.
And so I say, Jean, on behalf of the trucking industry, thank you for your “do-nothing” style of leadership. Will we do our part to clean up the environment? Of course we will.
But let’s hang back in the weeds for just a little longer and see how some of these technologies are going to evolve. n