The California legislature passed the state budget bill Feb. 19, hoping to stem the $41 billion budget shortfall through 2010. A portion of the budget calls for delaying requirements for construction companies to retrofit diesel-fueled construction equipment.

California is the only state that the Clean Air Act permits to set its own engine exhaust standards. The debate over its off-road diesel equipment began in 2005, when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced plans to impose more stringent standards on the exhaust from such equipment. CARB completed its work on those standards in April 2008.

The standards and related rules required in 2009 that owners of off-road diesel equipment should label and report on their equipment, and to start limiting the equipment’s idling time, and their purchases of older equipment. The cost of these actions was estimated by the Associated General Contractors of America to reach $13 billion.