California looks for firm to explain diesel regulations

SACRAMENTO, CA: California's Air Resources Board is hiring an agency as it plans a campaign targeting both in-state and national audiences to explain regulations.

SACRAMENTO, CA: California's Air Resources Board is hiring an agency as it plans a campaign targeting both in-state and national audiences to explain state regulations.

The $1.6 million, two-year contract requires a firm to implement a strategic media and information strategy to alert members of the public most affected by the state's diesel regulations. The messaging will include specific requirements, compliance deadlines, as well as funding opportunities to help diesel vehicle owners comply with the regulations.

The RFP deadline is May 15, with a decision expected by the end of the month, according to the solicitation.

The goal of the regulations is to reduce emissions from diesel vehicles and achieve health benefits. The winning firm will be required to find and research target audiences, both within California and nationally, because out-of-state diesel owners need to comply with the regulations inside state borders.

The diesel engine and greenhouse gas regulations affect about 200,000 California-based fleets and 100,000 out-of-state fleets, mostly made up of trucks and buses.

“Many of these businesses do not have environmental consultants on staff and do not understand air-pollution issues and available compliance options [because they] have language barriers or are under fiscal constraints,” the state agency said in the RFP. “As a result of the need for increased awareness and outreach to stakeholders, [Air Resources Board] staff is developing a compliance assistance and outreach plan.”

The firm will be expected to use a multidisciplinary approach and materials identified through research and focus groups to develop a strategy involving traditional media and social media outreach.

The state agency has attempted some outreach efforts on its own without outside support, including the “Truck Stop” website, training classes, brochures, radio ads and attending business events and meetings. For out-of-state fleets, the agency has participated in events and sent letters to truck associations in other states. To reach both groups, the agency also operates a toll-free diesel hotline to assist callers. Last year, 30,000 callers used the hotline.

“Despite these efforts, many truck owners, especially small fleets, inside and outside of California, are still unaware of existing regulations or are confused about the requirements and deadlines,” according to the RFP.

An agency representative did not return a request seeking additional comment.

The California Energy Commission has a similar search underway for a firm to develop a comprehensive outreach campaign about the transition of the transportation fuels market to non-petroleum, clean alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies.

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