WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday scrapped his administration’s controversial plans to tighten smog rules, bowing to the demands of congressional Republicans and some business leaders.

Obama overruled the Environmental Protection Agency — and the unanimous opinion of its independent panel of scientific advisers — and directed administrator Lisa Jackson to withdraw the proposed regulation to reduce concentrations of ground-level ozone, smog’s main ingredient. The decision rests in part on reducing regulatory burdens and uncertainty for businesses at a time of rampant uncertainty about an unsteady economy.

The announcement came shortly after a new government report on private sector employment showed that businesses essentially added no new jobs last month — and that the jobless rate remained stuck at a historically high 9.1 percent. LINK

Normally this is a story most of us would gloss right over on the way to reading something a little more “stimulating” like Support Your Local Gunfighter. However it caught my eye because in the big scheme of things I am acutely aware of just how the EPA and their never-ending, ever-expanding quest to regulate everything impacts my life, my profession and the finances of cities like Philadelphia.

My fire truck recently had to go to the shop for repairs. As a front line apparatus it takes its share of beatings. The truck is a 1998 American LaFrance. That means its been in service for about 13 years. It’s a pretty good truck and the guys like it. While it was down we had to use a reserve truck. That truck was a 21-year-old Seagrave. That truck shouldn’t be on the street never mind used for emergencies.

Now I have been told (from reliable sources) that we are due to receive a new truck sometime in the not too distant future. Starting this January the department will be taking receipt of four new engines a month for a total of twenty. Two new ladder trucks are in the mix. The price tag for the new ladders: $850,000.00 Thats right- three-quarters of a million dollars. Here’s the kicker- about $100,000.00 of that cost is due to EPA regulations. EPA regulations have done a lot to destroy firefighting training, restricting live burns into extinction. Now they are impacting the trucks we use. I feel for the farmers.

The EPA’s never-ending rule making has impacted the manufacture of fire trucks adding millions of dollars in costs to purchase prices that cities and towns end up having to pay for. That means tax payers are directly impacted by these rules since taxes are often raised to cover these spiraling costs. The cost increases are mainly due to required diesel emission equipment that the trucks must now have. As a result of these rules the trucks are now getting even bigger to accommodate the design changes. That means municipalities are scrambling to cut costs. To do this essential fire fighting features like deck guns and front suctions are being scrapped. We are in the era of “no frills” firetrucks. Like everything else, you get what you pay for. The new trucks are terrible. That makes a difficult job that much harder. Thanks EPA.

Back to my not green fire truck tonight.



  1. Spock says:

    Cap, you kind of glossed over a big (no pun intended) impact of these changes. The hidden costs of the improvements. In order to accomodate the EPA, trucks are getting about a few inches wider. It won’t make a difference out west, where their doors are a foot wider than the truck. But for us, how many places do the mirrors scrape the door frames backing in? Well, no new trucks can go there until/unless major modifications are made to the stations. So the extra $100K for the EPA now becomes an additional – $500K? $1M? $1.5M? – for the construction costs. And Lord help us if it’s a station that’s histrically protected, where the neighbors don’t want the station changed no matter what, nevermind their frontline piece is now 20 years old…

  2. C/A says:

    I mentioned it but your right I didn’t elaborate. I was trying to get the post in before work. (A double shift yesterday wiped me out for today). You are correct. the new trucks will be wider but pressure on the drivers to not so much as scrape the paint while responding to even farther runs more often will be just as intense as ever. Stay Safe pal.

  3. Ingineer66 says:

    Well it all goes along with the people that get voted into office. If people keep voting in these morons, we will continue to get more of this kind of crap. I feel your pain as I see the results and costs of many of these environmental laws. It is kind of funny when the government agencies incur costs due to the actions of the politicians that are running the government agencies. From the costs of OSHA rules to smog and water pollution restrictions. They pass all these rules and then complain about the costs, but only for them, not private business.

  4. momhoppes says:

    We just had to replace a couple of mirrors on the pumper because of the narrow doors at one of the substations. The truck fits perfectly if you remember to push the mirrors in. Of course this means you can’t see and better pray that you are lined up perfectly straight when you jump out to push the mirrors in so you can finish backing it in. The mirrors aren’t cheap and the volunteer departments run on dues, donations, and grants.

    • C/A says:

      Momma-have the same problem here. Only in America is a building about 75 years old called “historic”. That means even though its a working fire station we can’t alter the doors to fit the ever expanding trucks. (Yet we can demolish just about anything to make way for some new BS white elephant project) Mirrors for our trucks run in the hundreds even though you can get them at any tractor trailor shop for much less. Its actually a sick joke as we run on tax dollars.

  5. […] Laraque spoke to the Cybulski & Company radio program in Canada after the news Wednesday that another former enforcer, Wade Belak, was found dead in his Toronto apartment at age 35. Authorities described the death as nonsuspicious. It was the third death of a current or former National Hockey League enforcer this summer, an almost unfathomable statistical anomaly. (H/T – Captain America) […]

  6. Old NFO says:

    Meh… Try the back up being a 1951 Pierce… and the ‘mandate’ to scrap tailboards meant an extra $25k truck to lengthen them, and then they didn’t fit in the bays because they were too long… and yeah, we lost capabilities too!

  7. Mike47 says:

    In a country where 47% of the population doesn’t pay any income tax, how can you win with the argument that too many idiots are being elected who just tax and spend and increase costs though ridiculous environmental extremism? That part of the population just doesn’t care about where the increased tax comes from! They just don’t have skin in the game! We’ve got to change that somehow, so EVERYBODY pays a share of tax. Even panhandlers on the street, who get services from the government.

  8. Bob G says:

    If the gov’t REALLY wanted to limit ground-level SMOG, they would have to downsize THEMSELVES…greatly.
    Another “can’t see the forest for the trees” gig.
    And another job for Captain Obvious (no relation to YOU, Boss)


    Good post and excellent comments.

    ROll safe out there.

  9. bcfd90 says:

    Also the new motors with the all the EPA “crap” aren’t designed for the fire service demands so the rigs aren’t even close to fuel efficient. Expect to get less then 2 MPG. I guess more money in the pockets of the Petrolum Industries at the taxpayers expense?

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