EPA wants to stop trucks from blasting soot

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By Joe Moskowitz
If you are driving along on a quiet road and a diesel truck in front of you suddenly starts to roar and pour out thick, black smoke, you may have just been “sooted.”
The phenomena is commonly called “Rollin’ Coal” and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it’s illegal and wants it stopped. The soot is created because far more fuel is being pumped into the engine than it can cleanly burned.
Brian Sanford of Sanford Auto Parts in Arkville says it’s a simple formula, more fuel equals more power, and that’s why diesel truck owners make the modifications that make it possible.
But the EPA and other critics say it goes far beyond the quest for power.
Last week the EPA ruled that it is illegal under existing laws to sell, manufacture, or install any device that defeats the manufacturer’s emissions equipment or to alter the existing equipment. It is also illegal to alter a vehicle’s emissions control equipment before or even after sale.

Political issue
“Rollin’ Coal” has now become a political issue. According to a wide number of news sources, it has become a form of anti-government protest, with environmentalists often targeted. The Internet is filled with photos and videos of cars being sooted, particularly the Toyota Prius, perhaps the best-known hybrid vehicle.
Sanford said now that “Rollin’ Coal” has become a sign of protest, the EPA decided to act.
It is not an inexpensive law to break. Sanford said because of computer emissions controls on newer diesels, it can easily cost more than $1,000 to make a truck “Coal Ready.” Older trucks are less sophisticated, but there aren’t that many of the older diesels still on the road.

Laws are vague
Sanford said he is not sure where this is all going to go. He said the laws seem vague. And there is the issue of enforcement, which is huge. And, Delaware County Undersheriff Craig Dumond, said it would have major implications for the entire U.S. economy.
Dumond said the county often bought surplus federal government equipment, but because of the EPA diesel regulations, some of that equipment would have to be altered, but even a government agency isn’t allowed to do that. So now, the U.S. Government can no longer sell diesel-powered surplus equipment.
Dumond said almost everything we eat is shipped by diesel trucks and or trains. The EPA rules will make it tougher to comply and consumer prices will go up. And he said, perhaps the greatest problem is that no one knows exactly what the rules are, they haven’t been told how to check for violations, or what the penalties are.
Dumond said they are still waiting for the EPA to tell them what to do. But he said if it requires expensive equipment and more manpower, the sheriff’s department doesn’t have the money and fears it could become yet another unfunded government mandate.