As the Colorado Statesman’s John Tomasic reports–for the second year in a row, legislation to clamp down on the practice of “coal rolling” has died in the GOP-controlled Colorado Senate after passing the Colorado House and a GOP cosponsor in the Senate:
Rolling coal has made news across the country for years. It involves modifying a diesel truck engine using performance computer chips to send clouds of black soot from its exhaust pipe or pipes, preferably into the breathing space of pedestrians, bicyclists, Prius drivers, members of the state’s outdoor cafe society — which is to say, the kind of people who would most take offense.
State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, a Republican from Sterling, led opposition to “nuisance exhaust” House Bill 1102.
Sonnenberg, a farmer, argued that the bill could be used to target agricultural workers who drive diesel pickup trucks but who aren’t intentionally polluting or seeking to offend or intimidate anyone. He said he feared the bill could turn into “the tip of the spear” that would bring California-style stricter vehicle emissions rules to the state…
The problem is, that’s a bunch of hooey. House Bill 17-1102 dealt specifically with the knowing release of smoke from light vehicles for the purpose of harassing and annoying others on the road or on the sidewalk. It’s not a measure intended to penalize any unintentional emissions, for example from an older vehicle in need of repair. The purpose of a “nuisance exhibition” of smoke is to harass others, period. And there is absolutely no reason in the world why it should be a protected activity.
It’s one of those situations where the objections just don’t make sense. Outside of the people who do it, we don’t know of anyone who thinks “coal rolling” should be legal. It’s already illegal to tamper with a vehicle’s emission equipment, and the modifications to facilitate “coal rolling” are not necessary to achieve any reasonable goal.
Until next year, though, congratulations to the “coal rollers,” and the GOP lawmakers making the world safe for your soot! Enjoy being a detestable public nuisance while you can.