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Californian industry airs concerns over emission proposal

Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 ( #225 ) - SACRAMENTO, CA, United States
News Story
by US correspondent Roger Renstrom
Following forklift industry heat, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has postponed consideration of an emission standards proposal from September 15-16 to October 20-21.

CARB wants to lower emissions for off-road large spark ignition (LSI) engines ( News #215).

At an August meeting, California state assembly members criticised CARB for ineffectively dealing with the forklift industry during development of the emission proposal. CARB has withheld raw data forming the basis for its proposal and not allowed outsiders to review and critique the information, legislators said.

In 2001-2004, CARB introduced LSI engine standards for new forklifts and is now addressing emissions from older forklifts.

Industry members say the expense of converting engines in old forklifts might make them virtually worthless and forcing operators and dealers to install retrofit kits could jeopardise smaller businesses.

Audie Burgan, JM Equipment Co Inc owner, said many people felt the problem would disappear over six years through a turnover of inventory. Modesto-based JM distributes new forklifts from Nissan, BT Prime-Mover and Landoll, and sells used materials handling machines and agricultural equipment from five California locations.

Joe Hensler, president of Clarklift-West Inc, which trades as Team Power Forklifts, said: "We own several hundred forklifts.Converting that inventory might cost USD1.5 million." The Sacramento-based firm distributes new forklifts from Clark, Mitsubishi, Daewoo and Linde, and sells used machines and agricultural tractors at five California and Nevada locations.

Burgan, Hensler and Jay Waugh, of Graylift Inc, Fresno, California, are strongly encouraging others among the 50 forklift dealers in California to join a trade association willing to press the industry’s case.

"As a group, we can be heard," said Steven Kost, executive director of the Far West Equipment Dealers Association (FWEDA), of Dixon, California. FWEDA has retained Sacramento attorney George Soares to communicate industry concerns.
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