If you can't beat them, join them fast.


After mounting a fierce but futile fight against passage of a state law cracking down on greenhouse gas emissions, a coalition of businesses is now pushing for more rapid implementation of that law.


The reason? The fear that years of uncertainty over the crafting of regulations for AB 32 will deter business investment.


Specifically, the coalition comprised of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Building Industry Association, the California Grocers Association and the California Independent Petroleum Association wants to see a "certified early action program" that would allow companies to receive state certification for carbon-emission reductions they take in advance of regulations being crafted.


"While AB 32 regulations may take years to develop, California businesses need to make decisions in real time whether to go forward, delay or abandon future projects," said Dorothy Rothrock, a lobbyist with the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.


Of course, in order to set up such an "early-action" program, participating businesses will have to do the very things they argued against last year and on a faster time scale than either Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger or the state Legislature envisioned. This includes requiring the participating businesses to quantify their carbon emissions and show how future projects would reduce those emissions.


But Rothrock said that these efforts would be worth it if uncertainty can be reduced or even eliminated. "Providing expedited regulatory certainty may be the most cost-effective approach to achieve early emissions reductions," she said.


More Emission Reductions

Operators at all of the state's ports and rail yards where cargo is handled must file plans this week with the state Air Resources Board detailing stategies for cutting emissions from cranes, forklifts and other cargo handling equipment.


It's all part of a regulation adopted in December of 2005 to reduce nitrogen oxide and diesel emissions at these facilities, which are big emitters of pollution. The regulation spells out reductions for each type of equipment.


The deadline for the first annual reporting of emission control strategies is this Wednesday, Jan. 31.


Among the strategies that can be used: burning cleaner fuels such as natural gas and ethanol or switching to hybrid gas-electric systems; installing catalytic converters or other emission reduction devices; or trading in older machines that pollute more for ones with newer, cleaner engines.


For more information and to download the reporting forms, log onto arb.ca.gov/msprog/offroad/cargo/cargo.htm.


Another Deadline

It's quite a week for deadlines.


By Feb. 1, most employers with 11 or more employees must post a summary of 2006 job-related illnesses and injuries at their work sites. Employers in so-called "low hazard" industries in the retail, finance and real estate sectors may be exempted from this regulation, but should double-check this with the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health.


Employers have had to post these summaries for years, as part of a way to raise worker awareness of the potential for injuries. But this year, there's a revised form that is somewhat more detailed. Among other things, it must include instructions for employees on how to report workplace injuries or illnesses. Also, it must be posted for three months instead of just the month of February.


The summary form is widely available from workers' compensation insurance firms and business organizations like the California Chamber of Commerce. Or the form can be downloaded from the California Occupational Safety and Health Department Web site at the publications section on dir.ca.gov/dosh.


Staff reporter Howard Fine can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 227, or at hfine@labusinessjournal.com .

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