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Local environmental group targets “rolling coal” offenders

Posted by on August 30th, 2016 at 2:46 pm

Image from notice of intent to sue filed by Northwest Environmental Defense Center.

Image from notice of intent to sue filed by Northwest Environmental Defense Center.

“Rolling coal” is a vile act and one of the many deviant behaviors commonly displayed by people who operate motor vehicles.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, let us explain how it works.

Imagine you’re out enjoying a nice bike ride on a beautiful road. Then the driver of a large diesel truck comes up next to you and purposely slams on the gas pedal to emit a huge plume of toxic black exhaust right in your face.

We told you it was vile. But unfortunately it happens more than you might think.

“We feel there should be accountability for this sort of hostile, mean-spirited, environmentally harmful, and ultimately dangerous behavior.”
— Mark Riskedahl, executive director Northwest Environmental Defense Center

We reported on rolling coal a few times in 2014 (including once when someone rolled coal and the bike rider happened to be a police officer) and our stories caught the eye of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center at Lewis & Clark Law School. NEDC Executive Director Mark Riskedahl told us last week that they’ve started a “rolling coal accountability project” because it pollutes the air and it’s just plain, “morally reprehensible behavior.”

The practice has also been deemed illegal by the Environmental Protection Agency and is part of the Obama administration’s efforts to improve air quality.

Also fueling Riskedahl’s work: his wife Melissa Powers is a bicycle rider and law professor who happens to teach a course on the Clean Air Act at Lewis & Clark. She was recently a rolling coal victim herself while riding near Manzanita on the Oregon coast.

Riskedahl says his team (made up of law student volunteers) are putting together a list of potential targets for enforcement actions. They are specifically going after retailers who sell and/or install special devices that allow truck owners to bypass emissions control devices.

And the NEDC wants your help. “We would love to identify the businesses in the region that have developed a reputation for being at the forefront of this hobby,” Riskedahl says.

The NEDC has already partnered with a group of attorneys in Utah and have sent a letter of intent to sue to Diesel Brothers, a Utah-based business that operates DieselSellerz.com and sells emissions control defeat devices.

Here’s an excerpt from the 16-page letter (PDF) that threatens the website owners with federal prosecution under violation of section 203 of the federal Clean Air Act:

Although diesel truck manufacturers such as Ford, Dodge and GMC design and install thousands of dollars of pollution control equipment and software in each of their modern trucks to meet federal emission standards, Diesel Brothers have been reversing that progress with the turn of a wrench and the click of a touchpad. The public is left to pay for the pain and suffering of air pollution related diseases such as asthma, emphysema and lung cancer.5 In submitting this letter of intent to sue, UPHE seeks to protect the public health, guided by the ethical standards of the Utah Medical Association “to prevent sickness whenever possible, to alleviate suffering, to cure sickness and disease insofar as it is humanly possible, and to prolong meaningful life.

Exhibits to the letter include eBay listings that advertise “full delete” (parlance for no emissions control) and videos like the one below that was posted online by “Heavy D Sparks“:

The letter also points out that dealers of these devices are subject to a fine of $37,500 for each illegally modified vehicle or engine and people who use these devices are subject to a civil penalty of up to $3,750 each day they are used.

Riskedahl wants to expand their work into the Portland metro area and they’re looking for leads. They are looking for retailers and individuals. “License plate numbers may come in handy too,” he says. You can reach the NEDC via their website.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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143 Comments
  • Middle of the Road Guy August 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    It’s not an official road ride unless someone Rolls Coal on you.

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Personally, I think diesel trucks should be banned. I would support a government buyout of existing vehicles.

    Recommended Thumb up 15

    • Mark Riskedahl August 30, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      It is definitely well past time for us to leap frog diesel combustion as a means of moving people and cargo around in urban environments. As an interim measure, how about diesel-free bike transit corridors during peak commute times?

      Recommended Thumb up 20

      • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 3:29 pm

        +1 for that idea.

        Recommended Thumb up 7

        • Brendan Treacy September 8, 2016 at 1:07 pm

          As an employee in the Diesel truck industry, I can say that the latest emissions controls (if not bypassed) can make the air coming out of the tail pipe cleaner than the intake air. We’re getting pretty good at after treatment. We do need to find a way to get the older models retrofitted or off the road eventually though.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Mike 2 August 30, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      Personally, I think you should travel to Asia or Europe before deciding that banning them is the answer.

      Recommended Thumb up 13

      • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 3:33 pm

        I seem to recall hearing about a German carmaker that lied about how clean its diesels were in order to pass emissions tests. If you’ve spent any time on European highways, it is clear that their heavy trucks are not much better than ours (probably due to the presence of so many Polish and other trucks from further east).

        I’m not saying diesel can’t be clean, I’m just saying it isn’t clean. Try “rolling coal” in your Tesla and see how far you get.

        Recommended Thumb up 8

        • Dick Pilz August 30, 2016 at 5:30 pm

          That carmaker didn’t want to increase the cost of the car by adding a system that reduced NOx emissions all the time, not just when it was being tested. New large semi tractors are required to include that system. There are two other German carmakers that DO have that system (Diesel Exhaust Fluid), but they cost more as a result. Basically, the engine is tuned to reduce soot and CO emissions, but that increases NOx. DEF is then added to kill NOx.

          Unfortunately, many of the diesel vehicles on the road are too old to include the DEF system, and diesel engines tend to live longer than IC (gas) engines.

          Recommended Thumb up 7

    • Eric Leifsdad August 30, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Ban the fuel, not the engines. But for the recent DPF regen, diesel engines are biofuel compatible. Some might be offended by ‘rolling bacon’, but it would smell better.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

      • click shifter September 3, 2016 at 1:33 am

        Trimet used to run some of the small buses on biofuel. If you got behind one in your car you would nearly asphyxiate. You HAD to get in front of it or else die. There was nothing even close to being that nasty on the road.

        In several thousand miles of biking I have never had a vehicle intentionally “roll coal” at me. And I doubt many other cyclists have either.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Spiffy August 30, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    wow, that is a bold and very welcome campaign!

    Recommended Thumb up 15

  • GlowBoy August 30, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Obviously modifying vehicles to do this is an environmental violation.

    But doesn’t “rolling coal” on a person also constitute assault?

    Recommended Thumb up 15

    • soren August 30, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      the emissions of any ICE tailpipe are an assault on my health.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 3:59 pm

        With newer cars, tailpipe emissions are a minority of the overall emissions picture. There’s brake linings, tire wear, etc. that generate far more particulate emissions. Unfortunately, electric cars also generate this stuff at the same or higher rates.

        But compared to diesel soot (and wood smoke, interestingly), this is small potatoes.

        Recommended Thumb up 11

        • soren August 31, 2016 at 11:17 am

          Huh? Tailpipe emissions are the major source of air pollution in urban areas:

          https://www.cdc.gov/healthyplaces/healthtopics/airpollution.htm

          Recommended Thumb up 3

          • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 11:22 am

            They are probably including soot from diesel vehicles, which I acknowledged were the biggest contributor to our air pollution. When I hear “tailpipe” I think cars, which are mostly non-diesel, and emit more non-combustion related particulates than particles from combustion.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Mossby Pomegranate August 30, 2016 at 5:26 pm

        The raping of the earth for minerals to make batteries and electronics is an assault on mine.

        Recommended Thumb up 10

        • Jeff Monaghan August 31, 2016 at 1:29 am

          Yet, here you are using an electronic device, and most probably, a battery.

          Recommended Thumb up 20

          • Lester Burnham August 31, 2016 at 7:46 am

            They might be referring to the vast resources needed to manufacture and recharge electric cars? Let’s face it, those aren’t exactly zero footprint.

            Recommended Thumb up 7

          • BB August 31, 2016 at 10:07 am

            That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, or even a hypocrite; just alive in 2016..

            Recommended Thumb up 5

  • JeffS August 30, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    To generalize all diesel vehicles based on a very small percentage of modified cars is foolish.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

    • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      I generalize to all diesel vehicles based on the vast majority of diesel vehicles in Oregon, which are dirty and highly polluting. I include trucks, construction machinery, trains, and ships in my list of offenders.

      I’ll reconsider my view when I see the owners of these vehicles behaving with a little more consideration towards those they knowingly sicken with their exhaust.

      Recommended Thumb up 14

      • B. Carfree August 30, 2016 at 5:52 pm

        Don’t forget to pile on with the fact that Oregon trucking firms import the dirtiest diesels from California. This is caused by California having much more stringent emissions standards which force the owners of dirty trucks to move them out of state. Do we blame California for their forward-looking standards, or do we blame Oregon for living in the 1950’s?

        Recommended Thumb up 12

        • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 12:05 pm

          I vote 1950s. We should pass some legislation quickly, and get our trucks sold to Idaho before they do something similar.

          Recommended Thumb up 8

      • JeffS August 30, 2016 at 6:24 pm

        Nice job throwing the most efficient form of freight transit in there.. It really ads to your credibility.

        But since you’re apparently proud to be off-topic, I suppose logic and evidence need not be a concern.

        Recommended Thumb up 8

        • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 6:35 pm

          Because ships don’t emit tons of diesel particulates? It’s so bad that LA won’t let them run their engines when in harbor.

          PS Thanks for the tip on credibility!

          Recommended Thumb up 12

          • Lester Burnham August 31, 2016 at 7:49 am

            Do the hipsters realize the emissions created to get their shiny MacBooks and iPhones into their hands?

            Recommended Thumb up 7

            • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 31, 2016 at 12:02 pm

              “hipsters”.

              Recommended Thumb up 4

              • Alan Kessler September 1, 2016 at 11:16 am

                Who knew you could play http://www.nimbingo.com on Bike Portland?

                Recommended Thumb up 1

                • Hello, Kitty September 1, 2016 at 11:45 am

                  I know that NIMBY is tossed out so often that it’s lost all meaning, but I am truly perplexed what you could be referring to in this context.

                  Recommended Thumb up 1

                • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 5, 2016 at 2:42 pm

                  “hipsters”, HK. Speaking of “lost all meaning”.

                  Recommended Thumb up 0

                • Hello, Kitty September 5, 2016 at 8:51 pm

                  You can tell the hipsters from the nimbys by their beards.

                  Recommended Thumb up 0

                • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 5, 2016 at 9:05 pm

                  Not In My Beard.

                  Recommended Thumb up 1

                • Dan A September 7, 2016 at 8:00 am

                  Nutella In My Beard, Yummy.

                  Recommended Thumb up 0

      • jeff September 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm

        go after diesel, you’ll have to include agriculture, which is by far one of the largest contributors in the country. Good luck with that.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Hello, Kitty September 1, 2016 at 1:29 pm

          Not if you focus on the urban context. It matters much less where population density is low.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm

          first you stop coal rolling, next thing you know there are jack-booted government thugs knocking down your door because someone said you were hiding some diesel.

          https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/slippery-slope

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kyle Banerjee August 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Keep in mind while banning diesels that buses often burn the stuff and they’re super loud to boot.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 6:02 pm

      Indeed. I can’t believe I overlooked them on my list of things to hate. Tri-Met claims they’ve cleaned up their fleet, but my eyes tell me otherwise.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Eric Leifsdad August 30, 2016 at 7:07 pm

        I use B99 biodiesel and it smells way better than what they’re smoking — probably only B20 i.e. 20% biofuel. Maybe B50, but definitely rich in benzene and all that petroleum stink. I can’t believe they would have problems with straight biodiesel in engines that run constantly, but that seems to be what they claimed as soon as they got all of the stickers stuck on.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

        • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 7:09 pm

          Smells better than crack?!?

          Recommended Thumb up 1

        • Bill August 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm

          Trimet uses B5 as of the last public RFP to fuel its buses: http://trimet.org/pdfs/meetings/board/2013-11-13/Res_13-11-69.pdf

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Eric Leifsdad August 30, 2016 at 10:50 pm

            Facepalm. That’s not biodiesel, just the minimum blend in Oregon. I’ve long thought they should take off the stickers because the smell is giving a bad impression of biodiesel. I thought surely they wouldn’t be acting smug with less than B20.

            Recommended Thumb up 6

            • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 11:27 pm

              Will Tri-Met use “biodiesel” with their Division “rapid” transit? Maybe they could build their whole transit system on air-quotes. At least those don’t damage the climate.

              Recommended Thumb up 7

        • Sio August 31, 2016 at 1:16 pm

          It smells like bar-food!

          Recommended Thumb up 1

          • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 1:18 pm

            I’ve eaten in some bars where the food smells like a Tri-Met bus.

            Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Jayson August 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    If the $37,550 / $3,750 fine for each violation was actively enforced, that would put an end to these shenanigans pretty quick.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

  • pruss2ny August 30, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    “one of the many deviant behaviors commonly displayed by people who operate motor vehicles”?

    harsh overgeneralization of people who operate motor vehicles…who also have some tendency to operate bikes.

    but i agree its a d-bag move among a % of the small % of diesel drivers.

    Recommended Thumb up 12

    • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      And it sells those of us who try our deviant behavior on bikes short. (It’s harder than you’d think!)

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Kyle Banerjee August 30, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    In all fairness, this is practically a nonissue in the PDX metro area though ironically, I had some guy do it to me the day before yesterday. In some areas, you’ll see this on a daily basis.

    It’s pathetic if you think about it. Some guys feel like the only way to mask their inadequacies is by spending loads of dough making expensive vehicles that sound and smell like garbage trucks work even worse. They deserve our pity.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • 9watts August 30, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Culture War.

    I can already see the coal-roller discussion forums lighting up over this.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      I’ve actually lurked on one of those, and some of those guys are pretty sick, and I don’t mean that in a complimentary sort of way. Though I did enjoy one video where one coal roller piped a roll of coal into a bathroom where another coal roller was unloading a different kind of coal. It’s always a bit satisfying to watch them eat their young.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

      • rachel b August 30, 2016 at 11:57 pm

        “…unloading a different kind of coal…” New euphemism of the day. 🙂

        Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Chris I August 30, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      They know how to use computers?

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Hello, Kitty August 30, 2016 at 9:37 pm

        Some of the more advanced specimens seem to have worked out a few rudimentary skills.

        Recommended Thumb up 4

    • reader August 30, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Not to mention going out and doing it more.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • reader August 30, 2016 at 10:57 pm

        Oops.’There’s that autofill again. ~Jayson

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • 9watts August 31, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      Jonathan,
      any chance you’d invite someone from one of those groups for a Q and A? I realize it might be a long shot, but I suspect we’d all learn a lot. In this period in our history most of what transpires ends up further polarizing us, and this sort of lawsuit is gasoline on that fire. Any attempt to reach across these divides, expose ourselves to the views of the other side—and of course them to ours’—I think could go a long way toward reducing the shouting.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 12:48 pm

        Now that would be pretty awesome. Maybe he can do a ridealong, and snap some hilarious photos of bikes enveloped in a black cloud.

        (Actually, it probably would be a pretty good if he could pull it off.)

        Recommended Thumb up 2

    • 9watts August 31, 2016 at 5:37 pm
  • Rodney Tillman August 30, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    This is ridiculous and has to be the craziest thing I have read in a long time do you know how many diesels are on road ways in a days period not only for personal daily drivers but also as tractor trailers,school buses,tractors,garbage trucks,trains, and so on. I see in my eye that there are way more problems in this world that should be taken care of than this. I believe someone that’s a big wig somewhere has gotten black smoked while riding there huffy and got all pissy. I mfrom Florida and from where I am from there is a lot of deisel drivers including myself and I haven’t heard one complaint or heard of someone getting in trouble from rolling coal! That’s because we got bigger and better things to worry about in life and our country. Oh and someone has the intent to sue Deisel Brothers? Ha good luck. Thanks Rodney Tillman. FL.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Zimmerman August 31, 2016 at 9:47 am

      ***This comment has been deleted. Please do not mock or insult other commenters. Thank you – Jonathan ***

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Zimmerman August 31, 2016 at 2:29 pm

        Yeah, I suppose pointing out how a person’s lack of education might make defending “rolling coal” seem like a valid viewpoint.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Diesel particulates are one of the most deadly air pollutants in Portland, so for people suffering from lung disease, this might seem a pretty pressing issue. I mean that wall has to get built, but this might be up there in second or third place.

      And yeah, I admit it, the Diesel Brothers are pretty sweet. I love the time Diesel Dave made this big cloud of black smoke come out of his truck. That was awesome!

      Recommended Thumb up 5

    • CaptainKarma August 31, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      “Diesel”, and “their” huffy shows possession.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Dan A August 31, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      Are you lost?

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Nothing September 1, 2016 at 8:34 am

      Well, you see, that’s why the gov’t is divided up into sections. The EPA does environmental, the CDC does health, and so on. Specialized functions for specialized efforts. Makes sense to me.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Justin Acciavatti August 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Great applause for the work of Riskedahl. He should get all of our support.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Jeff Britton August 30, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Here is the ORS Vehicle Code for Visible Emissions. I would think if you get nailed with “Rolling Coal” it would fit this violation.

    815.200¹

    Violation of visible emission limits
    • penalty

    (1)
    A person commits the offense of violation of visible emission limits if the person operates, drives and causes or permits to be driven on any highway:

    (a)
    A motor vehicle, other than one described in paragraph (b) of this subsection, that has visible emissions exceeding visible emissions allowed under Visible Emission Standard I under ORS 815.195 (Requirements and standards).

    (b)
    A motor vehicle powered by compression ignition, two cycle or diesel cycle engines or a vehicle excluded by order of the Environmental Quality Commission under ORS 468A.075 (Variances from air contamination rules and standards) and the vehicle has visible emissions exceeding visible emissions allowed under Visible Emission Standard II under ORS 815.195 (Requirements and standards).

    (2)
    The exemptions from this section are established under ORS 815.205 (Exemptions from visible emission limits).

    (3)
    The offense described in this section, violation of visible emission limits, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §485; 1985 c.393

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • eddie August 31, 2016 at 5:48 am

    Rolling Coal? I used to figure those were just rednecks whose trucks had severe exhaust manifold issues. They’re doing that DELIBERATELY? Good God. That’s a new low.

    From what I can tell all virtually all industrial machinery, freight trains and most cargo trucks, the vehicles which run our economy, build structures, put out fires, harvest and plant the foods we eat, all have diesel engines. We completely depend on that fuel. They’re not gonna “ban” it.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 10:18 am

      You are right about that; but we can at least require new engines to be clean, and older engines to be phased out, the way CA is doing it.

      The trucks I would ban are mostly pickups and other small vehicles.

      Recommended Thumb up 4

      • Adam H. August 31, 2016 at 11:08 am

        Please please please can we ban those old loud diesel pickup trucks? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been woken up by one of these.

        Recommended Thumb up 5

        • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 11:34 am

          Sadly, some people never grow out of the terrible two’s when they need to have all the attention.

          It’s not enough for them to have a big truck — they need to make everyone see and hear them every time they’re using it.

          The stacks coming out of the bed are the most amusing as they make the bed less useful (though they also are kinder to cyclists from a coal rolling perspective). I think the idea is that they get to pretend like they’re driving a semi.

          One practice I haven’t encountered in Portland yet but which is encountered elsewhere on occasion is that some guys mount train horns in their rigs. If you look on youtube, there are plenty of videos of people messing with cyclists and peds with them.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • rachel b August 31, 2016 at 8:59 pm

          I second that, AH, only please ban the NEW loud diesel pickup trucks, too. I’ll never understand why someone would buy, on purpose, a brand new truck that sounds like it’s broken and rattling all the time…

          Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Jim Lee August 31, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Joke may be on the rollers. Can’t be good for the engine, especially not the turbocharger.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

    • Chris I August 31, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Given what they are driving, I don’t think they really care or understand vehicle costs (purchase, operating, repair, etc). These problems tend to go away with $4/gallon gas.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 12:00 pm

        Math is not one of these peoples’ strong suits. $4/gallon is cheap (especially as a proportion of total operating expenses when with trucks that cost over 40 grand).

        But gas prices definitely affect behavior. I’ll bet $10 gas would get 95% of these off the road

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • jo August 31, 2016 at 11:35 am

    cyclists are generally professional, educated and in shape physically and financially…so you can see how the two people would clash

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • 9watts August 31, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      Really?! Yikes. I suggest you get out a bit. It’s really a shame Michael Andersen isn’t around here anymore to drop some statistics into this conversation right about now.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • rachel b August 31, 2016 at 9:03 pm

        i smart and in shap.

        Recommended Thumb up 2

      • bradwagon September 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

        Well, if we are talking about the type of cyclists out on rural road rides that are typically “rolled” on, he’s likely not far off. I don’t know if this is as much of a problem in urban areas or not.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm

          It seems to be worst in the fringe areas- true rural is fine, true urban is fine, but along the edges of the UGB seem to be the angriest drivers- Hillsboro, McMinnville, Boring/Estacada, etc.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • BikeEverywhere August 31, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    This is a physical act of aggression and should be treated as such by law enforcement. It happens regularly to those of us who ride out on the (usually) quiet roads of Washington County. We obey the laws, try to be as polite as possible when encountering cars, and still this happens. As I see it, the most prudent response is to take down license plate numbers (if you you see it through the dark cloud???) and report it–every single time.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 31, 2016 at 12:19 pm

      I missed the license (and video) on the worst one I’ve had- but it was notable because the truck had a huge Marine Corps logo in the back window and it was on Labor Day.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • CaptainKarma August 31, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe there is citizen initiated citation that can be used to trigger a DEQ inspection of noxious vehicles, assuming you can get a plate number through the plumes of ignorance.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      Perhaps, it also takes a semi-willing police department. If you have to go the “long route”, filing a case and then doing a records request for the info, it’s quoted as a 16 week wait. (I’m at 9 weeks so far).

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • BikeEverywhere August 31, 2016 at 5:56 pm

        I recently contacted the Washington County Sheriff’s Dept. to report a incident where a driver tried to push my group off the road by spraying rocks and gravel at us. The dispatcher was extremely polite and had the deputy in charge of that area call me personally and take a full report. He let me know when he would next be on duty and promised to look out for the driver (I had a description of the car but failed to get the license plate).

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Rain Waters August 31, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    People modify Dodge Rams so they’re EVEN MORE not Miatas:

    http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/10/smoke-responsibly-and-roll-coal-the-right-way-with-these-truck-modification-options/

    Whatever. . .don’t let it get you down or relocate to Jefferson for that matter.

    RW

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 31, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Looks like our story has gotten spread around quite a bit. Just got this friendly email from reader:

    Good afternoon Jonathan.

    Please let me begin by saying that I am glad you took the time to write the article on pickup truck pollution. As a farmer I like to think I am at the forfeit of environmental concerns. That being said,cyclists especially the ones that ride those triathlon style bikes are the most irritating thing ever. They ride next to each other and in traffic, and nothing is more terrifying than trying to stop 28000 lbs of truck and trailer front turning a spandex clad cyclist into a road pizza. This is most likely reason why diesel truck owners are upset at cyclists,not because they left tell house that morning trying to be an asshole. However because of the way that some people ride in traffic,it’s kind of soul warming watching them choke down some carbon in the rear view. ……..

    Differing opinions,

    Have a great day

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 31, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Classy. Wonder what “diesel forums” it’s being passed around on.

      I think my roundup last week had something about how farmers and cyclists have a lot in common.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Adam H. August 31, 2016 at 2:40 pm

      That being said, drivers especially the ones that ride those giant loud pickup trucks are the most irritating thing ever. They drive on the greenways, and nothing is more terrifying than trying to ride a bike next to 28000 lbs of truck and trailer front, turning a normally calm person into a impatient jεrk willing to put your life at risk.

      Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Al Dimond August 31, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      Those “opinions” sure are “differing”, yep.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • rachel b August 31, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Charming.

      Recommended Thumb up 2

    • lyle w. September 2, 2016 at 9:45 am

      I like when people loudly announce they’re sociopaths and then immediately want credit for that admission. Keep up the good work, guys.

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  • theblackcloud August 31, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Maybe y’all shouldn’t be out riding your bikes on our roadways meant for cars and trucks. If we could just pass a law saying it’s unsafe for bike riders on our streets the world would be a better place no more bikes running stop signs no more running red lights no more getting in our way. If you can’t cruise at 45mph in a 55 stay off that road 9 times out of ten when you get smoked out it’s because you’re going to slow and the guy in a diesel has to stomp on it to safely go around you

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 31, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      I’m unsure if there’s a single concept in here that reflects actual reality.

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    • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      I’m going to guess that if you saw a guy riding a horse along the road, you wouldn’t unload a roll of coal on him; is there something in particular you dislike about bicyclists?

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    • Adam H. August 31, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Maybe y’all shouldn’t be out driving your trucks on our greenways meant for bikes. If we could just pass a law saying it’s unsafe for cars and trucks on our streets the world would be a better place no more cars running stop signs no more running red lights no more getting in our way. If you can’t cruise at 15mph in a 25 stay off that road 9 times out of ten when you get stuck behind a cyclist it’s because you’re going to fast and the guy on a bike has to stomp on it to safely get away from you

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      • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 4:04 pm

        Do you think this dude is hauling his load of hay down Clinton, getting bitchy about the speed you’re riding, and unrolling his coal to show you his displeasure?

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    • 9watts August 31, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      “Maybe y’all shouldn’t be out riding your bikes on our roadways meant for cars and trucks.”

      Except – http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com/about/

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Hey blackcloud,

      That would mean no more farm machinery on the roads. I regularly pass this on my bike while the cars stack up because there’s too much oncoming traffic.

      If you’re worried about who’s blocking you, you do realize that if the line of cars parked by the side of road (i.e. a bunch of vehicles going zero mph while the owners sleep or just use the street for storage), you’d sail right by?

      Also, consider how much time you have to waste waiting for people to find parking spaces, turn left or go straight across a busy lane because they couldn’t be bothered to go a bit extra to a light, couldn’t even cross the light on a green because someone blocked the intersection with their car because it wasn’t clear, or a million other reasons.

      BTW, if you want a quick solution that doesn’t require anyone else to change, how about taking only quadruple the space on the road that I do? Then you’d sail right by me…

      Just so you know this isn’t personal and I don’t have any hard feelings, you can have my parking space.

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  • Zimmerman August 31, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Wow, I guess “Have a blessed day” and “have a great day” mean really different things nowadays.

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    • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 2:46 pm

      Maybe they meant “blessed by the dark lord of eternal night and agony”.

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      • Adam H. August 31, 2016 at 2:49 pm

        May you live in interesting times.

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  • theblackcloud August 31, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    We live in a day where people get their feelings hurt and say we need to ban this or ban that the truth is you can’t just ban something and expect it to just disappear. We could ban bikes from the streets but we’d still see them you could try to ban diesel’s but than where are you gonna eat? diesel trucks, tractors,etc make this world go around everyone just thinks oh we’ve had enough! what about a 45 year old man with a wife and four kids and he spent his whole life training and going to school to work on diesel engines and that’s all he’s ever done you can not just ban diesel’s because someone got their feelings hurt. There’s so many reasons not to ban them than your few reasons to ban them this is coming from a diesel owner. This diesel owner has never in 400,000 miles of driving smoked out a cyclest it’s just wrong but making me and my family of diesel mechanics pay for a few young dumb teenager’s mistakes just is not fair.

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    • Al Dimond August 31, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Nobody (i.e. nobody that matters) is proposing suddenly banning diesel vehicles outright. In fact, nobody that matters in the US is even proposing that diesels be phased out, or that existing diesel engines used in heavy goods transport be required to meet modern environmental standards. The latter would actually be great news for working diesel mechanics!

      Some people (i.e. some people that might matter) appear to be attempting to get existing laws against intentionally defeating existing emissions controls for enforced. This has nothing to do with farmers driving tractors, truckers carrying goods to market, or mechanics that keep their vehicles running.

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      • click shifter September 3, 2016 at 1:41 am

        Several people openly proposed banning vehicles in comments above. Thank you for letting us know they don’t matter. We knew it, of course, but now you’ve brought it out of the closet. 🙂

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      • Pete September 6, 2016 at 10:45 am

        “nobody that matters in the US is even proposing that… diesel engines used in heavy goods transport be required to meet modern environmental standards.”

        That’s not entirely true. The EPA is at Tier 4 in its efforts to reduce Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and Particulate Matter (PM) emissions from non-road diesel engines (locomotives, marine, mining, farm equipment, airline engines, etc.).

        https://www.dieselnet.com/standards/us/nonroad.php
        https://www3.epa.gov/nonroad

        “When the full inventory of older nonroad engines are replaced by Tier 4 engines, annual emission reductions are estimated at 738,000 tons of NOx and 129,000 tons of PM. By 2030, 12,000 premature deaths would be prevented annually due to the implementation of the proposed standards.”

        Note that non-road equipment often has a significantly longer life-cycle than road engines (cars, trucks), so phasing in Tier 4 compliant engines also depends on other value propositions, like savings in fuel consumption. Economic factors, such as record passenger booking on airlines and increased freight train demand due to the Bakken boom, have accelerated new equipment adoption, primarily for those lowered costs of operation. But it’s true, nobody’s being fined for ‘non-compliance’, that I know of.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 31, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Hi theblackcloud,

      I run this site and just want to say I appreciate your comments on this story. I don’t agree with what you are saying, but I welcome your perspective.

      And to you and everyone else… Let’s appreciate different perspectives and challenge ourselves to have a productive conversation about this important issue.

      We all have a lot to learn and that education can only happen if we remain considerate of others and keep an open mind.

      Thanks.

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      • theblackcloud August 31, 2016 at 6:20 pm

        I’ve never been to Portland Oregon I live on the east cost and I also live a long way from anything I know a lot about these young guys running around and being disrespectful to cyclist and I am sorry for that y’all may not agree with me but thanks for listening. Have any of y’all heard about how diesel is not as toxic as a gas burner it’s a proven fact people have tested this. And also the diesel seems more toxic than gas mainly because all of the black soot but it actually isn’t very harmful at all it just looks that way. Look at it this way I am a farmer and I drive an f350 to haul trailers and smaller equipment and my truck runs on pure waste vegetable oil or WVO as us diesel guys say well when my truck is running it smells like a restaurant like someone frying something what I’m getting at is my factory truck minus an after market fuel heater runs on WVO the exhaust gas that comes out of my truck is a lot better for our air than any gas powered car out there. So maybe in Portland the air quality sucks but it is more than likely an over population problem not a diesel problem pretty much every big city in every state that I’ve been to has been over populated but idk I’m just saying y’all can do what you want but keep in mind you should do your research not all diesel’s are equal like they’re owners if I pass you on a bike a friendly wave is all you will get lol

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        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) August 31, 2016 at 6:25 pm

          Thanks for your measured response. The particulate matter (visible smoke) is a large problem in diesel emissions. Otherwise I’m not going down into the rabbithole of comparing various types of emissions with you.

          Thanks for giving a friendly wave. On behalf of one cyclist, I’ll offer a wave back. It’s part of being in the country to me- respecting farm equipment that is on the road.

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        • Brendan Treacy September 8, 2016 at 1:15 pm

          Thanks, I have a whole lot of respect for the professional and courteous truck drivers of the world. It really shows how much pride you have in your work and a general respect for human decency. It has always meant a lot to me as both a driver and a cyclist.

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        • Dan A September 8, 2016 at 2:31 pm

          Thanks for the comments, it’s neat to hear a thoughtful counterpoint.

          BTW, I think your ‘period’ key might be broken. I don’t want to alarm you, but you may need to get that looked at.

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          • Hello, Kitty September 8, 2016 at 2:36 pm

            In the meantime, I’m happy to lend you a few of mine: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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            • Dan A September 8, 2016 at 7:23 pm

              wsbob should be able to part with some spare commas too. Just snag them from one of his posts. Win-win!

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    • Hello, Kitty August 31, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      As the author of the “ban” comment, it has nothing to do with hurt feelings (I dish it out, I can take it), but rather air quality in the city. I don’t know where you live, but in Portland proper, there is a pretty bad air quality problem, and one of the major contributors is diesel particulates. In rural areas it is less of an issue, but in cities, they cause real people real problems.

      And, like I said in another comment, I would favor it only for small trucks, that are often just used as cars, not heavy machinery. And I really don’t care what you drive out on the farm. But I do care about what happens in the city.

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 31, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      Hey blackcloud,

      That would mean no more farm machinery on the roads. I regularly pass this on my bike while the cars stack up because there’s too much oncoming traffic.

      If you’re worried about who’s blocking you, you do realize that if the line of cars parked by the side of road (i.e. a bunch of vehicles going zero mph while the owners sleep or just use the street for storage), you’d sail right by?

      Also, consider how much time you have to waste waiting for people to find parking spaces, turn left or go straight across a busy lane because they couldn’t be bothered to go a bit extra to a light, couldn’t even cross the light on a green because someone blocked the intersection with their car because it wasn’t clear, or a million other reasons.

      BTW, if you want a quick solution that doesn’t require anyone else to change, how about taking only quadruple the space on the road that I do? Then you’d sail right by me…

      Just so you know this isn’t personal and I don’t have any hard feelings, you can have my parking space.

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    • eddie September 4, 2016 at 4:49 am

      You sir have mastered the run on sentence.

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  • joebobpdx August 31, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    So this is – really – “commonly displayed by people who operate motor vehicles”? That’s curious as I’ve driven tens of thousands of miles and ridden at least a couple thousand miles in the last 10-ish years and have never pulled this stupid stunt nor have I witnessed it.

    Seems more like editorial drama-making.

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 1, 2016 at 4:37 am

      That sentence also includes the phrase “one of the.. behaviors”.

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    • Kyle Banerjee September 1, 2016 at 5:53 am

      It’s a regional thing. It’s relatively common in some areas, but not in PDX.

      Even in areas where you see it on a regular basis, the impact is more symbolic than substantial. When they’re rolling coal, they only do it for a short time. The real pollution is just from idling in traffic in every type of vehicle and regular human activity.

      I would add that people getting upset invites more of this stuff. The type of reaction you see on this blog is exactly what the boneheads are going for — it plays right into their narrative of getting all these namby pamby liberal cyclists’ and Prius drivers’ knickers in a twist.

      If you simply ignore it, it’s boring for them and they find something else to do.

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      • lyle w. September 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm

        Pretty accurate description of the psychology on this one, Kyle. And it goes for way more than just ‘Rolling Coal,’ as infuriating as it is.

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    • jeff September 2, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      It happened to me about three years ago, in Portland on N Williams.

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    • click shifter September 3, 2016 at 1:44 am

      You nailed it. This talk about people intentionally blowing diesel exhaust at cyclists is a non-issue being blown totally out of proportion.

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      • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 5, 2016 at 12:06 pm

        “non-issue”? Please explain. Are you implying it doesn’t happen?

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      • Dan A September 7, 2016 at 8:05 am

        **censored offensive comment**

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        • Dan A September 7, 2016 at 8:06 am

          /s

          In case that wasn’t clear….

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          • Hello, Kitty September 7, 2016 at 9:47 am

            Pretty classy, even so…

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            • Dan A September 7, 2016 at 10:04 am

              True enough, let’s make it “I’ve never been the subject of discrimination, must be a non-issue.”

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              • Adam H. September 7, 2016 at 10:06 am

                I have no problem with that door zone bike lane, so you must be doing something wrong if you do.”

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    • BikeEverywhere September 4, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      That’s my usual response to stuff like this, and would be had I not been a victim of this activity myself. This isn’t ordinary diesel exhaust we’re talking about. The emission systems of the offending trucks have been modified to produce a dense black cloud that is impossible to see through. It essentially renders the cyclist unable to see for 15-30 seconds. Crashing into objects can follow. It triggers asthma attacks in those sensitive to the particulate matter. This truly is a type of assault.

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      • lyle w. September 5, 2016 at 12:56 pm

        Screaming at people as you drive past them at a high rate of speed is also somewhat similar. I’ve definitely come close to losing the handling of my bike a few times when that’s happened to me, even if the person isn’t harassing me (and is just screaming something neutral).

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        • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 5, 2016 at 2:40 pm

          Yep, had one pathetic attempt at rolling coal and several “screamers” on a 170mi trip. Also lots of close passing and some honking when a driver had to slow down before taking the oncoming lane. Gasp! All that wasted energy, lifting their foot off the gas pedal.

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          • Dan A September 7, 2016 at 7:59 am

            They are in a hurry to catch back up to the car in front of them, so they can follow it for 5 miles while they wait for a passing lane.

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            • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 7, 2016 at 8:05 am

              Someone’s gotta tailgate that car, after all.

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              • Dan A September 7, 2016 at 10:01 am

                Speaking a reformed driver, it’s pretty ironic the way drivers yearn for open road in front of them, and yet when they have it the first thing they do is try to catch up to the car in front of them, which takes away the feeling they were seeking in the first place.

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  • eddie September 4, 2016 at 4:52 am

    How in the world did a farmer from the east coast end up on the Bike Portland comment section?

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    • 9watts September 4, 2016 at 7:53 am

      The internet is not a physical thing like a daily paper that someone has to put a rubber band around and ship to your door.

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  • Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 5, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    NYT: ‘Rolling Coal’ in Diesel Trucks, to Rebel and Provoke

    There is a new menace on America’s roads: diesel truck drivers who soup up their engines and remove their emissions controls to “roll coal,” or belch black smoke, at pedestrians, cyclists and unsuspecting Prius drivers.

    Sgt. Chris Worthington of the Montrose Police Department here is out to stop them.

    “You can hear those trucks across town, driving like idiots,” he said on a recent Friday evening patrol. He is among the first law enforcement officers in the country to be trained at “smoke school” to pick up the skills to police the coal rollers.

    “I just wanted something different,” Mr. Hoey said, revving the engine and releasing two black pillars of smoke into the evening air before Sgt. Worthington shut him down. “People who see it giggle. They think it’s funny.”

    Depending on whom you ask, rolling coal is a juvenile prank, a health hazard, a stand against rampant environmentalism, a brazen show of American freedom. Coal rollers’ frequent targets: walkers, joggers, cyclists, hybrid and Asian cars and even police officers. A popular bumper sticker reads “Prius Repellent.”

    There is, in fact, disdain among truck-pull enthusiasts toward coal rollers, whom they view as wannabes sullying their sport. “I hate those guys. I used to do it, smoke out friends, but I grew out of it,” Mr. Johnson said. “Gives diesel a bad name.”

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  • brknbtmbrkt September 9, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Brendan Treacy
    As an employee in the Diesel truck industry, I can say that the latest emissions controls (if not bypassed) can make the air coming out of the tail pipe cleaner than the intake air. We’re getting pretty good at after treatment. We do need to find a way to get the older models retrofitted or off the road eventually though.
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    Here’s a little graphic to show just how much diesel emission standards have changed in the US with the introduction of the EPA 2010 regulations. http://www.factsaboutscr.com/scr/engine-control-standards.aspx

    With today’s standards and emissions control technologies for diesel engines, the problem is not the newer trucks, they are remarkably clean. The challenge is getting older, noncompliant trucks off the road and ensuring compliance for the newer ones. Let’s focus our efforts on petitioning our regional, state, and federal governments to mandate periodic testing and more stringent standards for older vehicles.

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  • Mark Riskedahl September 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Thank for your continued coverage of this issue Jonathan!

    Just to clarify: the plaintiff organization in the Utah case is the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, and the attorney representing them is Reed Zars from Laramie, Wyoming. We’ve long been fans of Reed’s Clean Air Act work and are excited about its application in the context of enforcement against the intentional removal and defeat of emissions control systems in diesel vehicles.

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  • 9watts September 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    I received some coal yesterday.
    It was totally unexpected. I was waiting at a bus stop in Wilsonville, when this hopped up full size pickup with smoke stacks you’d normally see on semi-trucks poking through the bed does his coal rolling thing while roaring his engine. The wind was favorable (to me), but now I have experienced at least the surprise of it.

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