Warning to warehouse operators in Southern California: Don’t ignore SoCal’s emissions reporting rule, ISR Rule 2305

Nov 7, 2023

The SCAQMD is beginning enforcement initiatives, and the EPA intends to approve the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule. EPA approval will make ISR Rule 2305 enforceable by federal, environmental, and other citizen enforcement groups. The good news is compliance can be simple, painless and offers opportunities to make yards more efficient.

Compliance with Southern California’s SCAQMD’s ISR Rule 2305 is not optional. Warehouse operators in SoCal are in the middle of a significant regulatory shift – with serious penalties awaiting the non-compliant. According to the SCAQMD, a staggering 55% of facilities remain non-compliant, failing to submit their initial compliance reports, and enforcement actions are beginning.

Adopted in 2021, the SCAQMD’s Indirect Source Rule 2305 (ISR) aims to decarbonize the yards around warehouses. Mitigation options are outlined in the rule and include installation of solar panels, adding zero-emission vehicles to fleets, and installing EV charging stations. Alternatively, there’s an optional mitigation fee that funds incentives to companies that are investing in decarbonizing transportation.

In a September 20 press release announcing the agency’s enforcement initiatives, Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD executive officer, made the agency’s feelings on non-compliance clear when he said: “Time is up for those not complying with our rule.” “Owners and operators of warehouses have known about these deadlines for two years. Communities near these facilities deserve to breathe clean air and our enforcement teams will work quickly to ensure that the facilities come into compliance as quickly as possible.” These enforcement actions come with steep non-compliance fines up to $11.700 per day, and these fines are retroactive.

Further amplifying the urgency of compliance, on October 12th the EPA announced its intent to approve the ISR rule. As Martha Guzman, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator states, “Our goal is to shield overburdened communities from the devastating effects of air pollution.” This move empowers not only official federal bodies, but also environmental groups and citizen enforcers to uphold the rule.

There is a challenging trend of unawareness and misconceptions among warehouse operators around the rule itself, and what can be done to become compliant. Many are unaware of the rule, concerned about the cost of compliance, or are mistakenly banking on legal proceedings to delay the inevitable. With fines reaching up to $11,700 per day, ignoring compliance is a high stakes gamble.

As legal battles proceed, spearheaded by entities like the California Truckers Association and The Sierra Club, the core question for warehouse operators remains: “How can we effectively address compliance without squandering scarce resources?”

There is however, a simple and painless road to compliance. Tracking, classifying, and reporting truck trips paves the way to compliance, and the potential to earn valuable mitigation credits. Innovations in computer vision and yard workflow technology can expedite processes, reduce idle times, and streamline operations, leading to both compliance and operational efficiency.

The developments in Southern California should also serve as an indication of the future of warehousing and transportation nationwide. Regions such as New York, Colorado, and Oregon are already planning similar ISR type rules.

Long-term investments like solar panels and electric vehicles are part of the future, but immediate, simpler steps like automated driver check-ins and computer vision aided truck trip counting can’t be postponed. The choice for warehouse operators is clear: embrace technology that drives compliance today, or wrestle with steep consequences later.

Learn more about ISR Rule 2305 compliance with Renaissant here. 

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