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Nevada County Man Worries California Air Rules May Mean End Of His Construction Business

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NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — Al Urke has been building new construction for almost four decades, but he’s worried his business could go under with new California rules.

“It’s going to end up being the big guys as the only ones who survive this and that’s only because they have more resources,” he said.

Retroactive truck and bus regulations by the California Air Resources Board will require him to update his older model trucks to meet the state’s emission reduction requirements next year.

“We are forced into upgrading or buying new equipment out of our pockets when we weren’t ready to do it,” he said. “The truck itself in this point in history is probably worth $25,000 or $30,000 so its pretty hard to justify putting $50,000 into an older truck like that.”

While most newer trucks require a filter to be installed, older trucks may require a new engine, or owners have to replace them altogether.

“There’s no way I’m going to go out and spend $200,000 to $300,000 and buy new equipment,” Urke said. “It’s going to put me out of business.”

The goal of the truck and bus regulations is to update the vehicles so they are cleaned and more modern, and don’t contribute to the state’s air pollution problems. The improvements can be phased in over time and truck owners can apply for financial help.

Urke says a loan won’t work.

“I’m not going into debt, ’cause that’s the way I’ve been able to be successful,” he said. “I own all my equipment outright.”

He worries come January, he may be forced into early retirement.

Urke will try to apply for an exemption next year that will allow him to drive his trucks a reduced number of miles per year, but he says even with that, he would be taking a 30 percent pay cut.

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