“Rolling Coal”–Seriously Republicans, WTF?

Rolling coal--ladies, please don't encourage this.

“Rolling coal.”

Nick Coltrain at the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports on the death Tuesday of Rep. Joann Ginal’s House Bill 16-1319, legislation that would have outlawed the practice of intentionally modifying your diesel vehicle to spew black soot on unsuspecting pedestrians, Prius owners, and other such wussies:

Ginal, D-Fort Collins, said she wrote the bill to target the activity, not the modifications. She had input from Fort Collins law enforcement and city officials on the bill. The bill would have created a $35 fine for those who rig light diesel trucks to blast thick, black exhaust and use it to obscure roadways or harass pedestrians, referred to as rolling coal. It would have also tacked two points on the offender’s license. Too many points in a one- or two-year period will lead to license suspension.

The bill passed out of the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote earlier this month. It failed on a party-line vote in the Senate transportation committee, with the three Republicans voting against it. A phone message to the chair of the committee, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey, was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Prius-RepellentLet’s have no confusion about about the plain language of HB16-1319:

The bill prohibits “coal rolling”, or “rolling coal”, which is the act of intentionally blowing black smoke through one or more exhaust pipes attached to a diesel vehicle after modifying, disabling, bypassing, or removing the vehicle’s pollution controls, for the purpose of harassing another driver, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian or obstructing or obscuring the view of another driver, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian. A person who violates the prohibition commits a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense, punishable by 10 to 90 days in jail or a $150 to $300 fine, or both, and is subject to 3 points assessed against the person’s driver’s license.

As you can see, we’re not talking about a new law to bust down poor people with old smoking vehicles. The citizens who would face penalties under this bill have intentionally modified their diesel vehicles to emit vast quantities of sooty diesel smoke from their exhausts at will. There are diesels on the road that emit more than their share of smoke already, but this is a modification that produces far more than any engine problem. If you’ve ever seen someone “rolling coal,” you know that the pall of smoke they generate can dangerously obscure an entire major boulevard–not to mention choke out anyone unfortunate enough to be walking outdoors nearby.

Safe to say, it’s a very bad practice that should most definitely not be legal–any more than it’s legal to defeat your emission controls in a regular car. And since it’s something done with the express purpose of harassing others and creating a nuisance…yeah. It’s ridiculous. Throw the book at ’em.

But no, Sen Randy Baumgardner and his Republicans colleagues on the Senate Transportation Committee chose instead to protect your God-given right to “roll coal.” So remember to keep your Prius’ windows rolled up tight and don’t make eye contact.

32 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    These people are poster children for arrested development, but spare the rod. If they're spending their money on these modifications that's less money for them to send to Dudley or Cruz.  

    The US coal market is collapsing and we're winning the War on Coal scientific debate on climate change (much to the chagrin of Sonnenberg and the senate majority). 

    They are, metaphorically speaking, shit stains that will come out in tomorrows wash.

  2. Les Ismore says:

    Aint gonna happen…its not about public safety, air quality or anything else, its all about pissing off liberals

  3. FrankUnderwood says:

    She looks like she should be on the calendar in a muffler shop. Perhaps she is auditioning to be one of the next Duck Dynasty wives.


  4. NotHopeful says:

    If blowing out diesel exhaust, dangerous as it is to human health and the aesthetics of the environment, is "free speech," then is setting a fire in a state park or just the park down the street from your house also "free speech," too? Is painting your house rainbow-striped, in an HoA that demands pastel colors, considered by Republicans to be "free speech"? Is smoking in a restaurant "free speech"?

    The logic deployed by Republican state senators is absurd in the extreme. I think that what's really going on is a desire to express disagreement with the very idea that air pollution exists and that it should be limited.

    That is not only absurd, but ignorant and self-destructive. Welcome to modern Republicanism.

  5. Big Time says:

    One big middle finger to the world

  6. TobiasFunke says:

    Seriously, FUCK Randy Dumgardner. What an asshole.

  7. Ross Cunniff says:

    The Senate Republicans on the transportation committee were completely disconnected from local politics.  I'm on the Fort Collins City Council, one of three sitting on its Legislative Committee, and we span the the political spectrum.  We had unanimous approval for support of this bill, which was brought to our attention by another Fort Collins councilmember, Bob Overbeck.  Representative Ginal worked closely with us and our staff and police department to craft a bill which was both meaningful and enforceable.  Despite this significant showing of consensus, core-party Republicans killed this bill.  For no good reason – simply out of spite and political game-playing.  I hope this and other similar actions bear electoral consequences for those bad-faith senators.

  8. beckyrep says:

    Every year a new low in how low Rs will go  just to stick it to Ds on general principal. Killing this bill is itself a coal-rolling incident: "Filthy 'liberty' above enforced civility!"  I'm completely disgusted at the party-line kabuki going on at our statehouse. Very little is getting done, I don't even know why they keep the lights on and the doors open.  

  9. MapMaker says:

    The next step for Republicans, in concordance with the requirement to poison people for profit, is to mandate the installation of mercury injection for these "coal" burners.


  10. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    If I see Randy Baumgardner, can I spit on him? While talking? After all … free speech!

    • Jorgensen says:

      Sorry Randy, I'll blow smoke into your eyes while you are wiping off Half Glass Full's spitl Yes, politically incorrect is sometimes correct. I have detested diesel-fueled vehicles for decades and this bill addressed abusers who are the worst offenders. Should have passed that committee that you control, Randy.

      • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

        Let me tell you, as the driver of a 3/4 ton diesel truck, that I find this practice particularly offensive. I drive a big diesel truck because I have to haul heavy things as a part of my daily effort at making a living. I try to be particularly careful about avoiding conditions that cause my truck to emit smoke.

        My wife drives a Prius. She was assaulted in this manner last year by a truck with a "Prius Repellent" sign on it. My wife tried to follow him to get his license number, but the stupid bastard got away.

        Please don't indict all diesel truck drivers because of the offensive and childish behavior of these ass clowns. Most of us are as offended as the rest of you. 

        • Gray in Mountains says:

          Agree. I don't drive a diesel, but they are a better motor, long term, than gas. I'm glad to see improvements in them and hope one day they don't get left idling for long periods. Diesel AND gas drivers ought be grateful to hybrid ald electric drivers that leave more fuel for those who need it

          • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

            roger, that…. I don't let my truck idle. Whenever possible, I don't use drive up windows. Even when I do, I shut off my truck whenever I can. It doesn't take much fuel to restart a hot diesel engine.

            • Gray in Mountains says:

              Diesels also just last longer. That should mean a savings in energy if it isn't necessary to build another

              • MapMaker says:

                Diesels are also more fuel efficient than gas engines.

                As for "coaling" the soot generated consists of generally large carbon particles that just fall to the ground. Kind of like the particles that get generated as your tires wear. So the numb-nuts doing this aren't really contributing more to pollution.

                • taterheaptom says:

                  Falls on children and pedestrians. 

                  And its not just harmless dirtiness.

                  Health Effects: Particulate soot (particularly "fine" particles – see below) has been linked to tens of thousands of premature deaths every year. It also is associated with increased emergency room visits, asthma attacks, decreased lung function and other respiratory problems. Those most at risk include the elderly, people with cardiopulmonary disease such as asthma, and children.


                  What are the Health Effects of Diesel Soot?

                  Combustion-related particulate matter is associated with a host of severe impacts such as heart attacks, stroke, cardiovascular death (Dockery et al, 2002) and lung cancer (Pope et al, 2002) in adults. In children, fine particles are associated with upper and lower respiratory impacts as well as retardation of lung growth (Gauderman et al, 2004) and crib death. Carbon soot particles from diesel engines adsorb onto their surfaces other metals and toxic substances produced by diesel engines such as cancer-causing aldehydes (like formaldehyde) and PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.) Occupational health studies link cancers, particularly lung cancer to diesel exhaust exposures. Traffic studies suggest increased rates of respiratory and cardiovascular disease and risk of premature death near busy urban streets or highways.

                  • Gray in Mountains says:

                    This does seem the most likely outcome. But, I think it can be resolved. Science.

                  • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

                    Self awareness is one of the most environmentally responsible skills we can develop. The three Rs' (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) are meant to generate a lifestyle, not a forum discussion. 

                    As it is, the first act of my impending retirement will be to trade in the big beast for a small electric car.

                    We all can make a difference…just pay attention.

                    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                      There are a lot of health issues around liquid fuels (diesel and gasoline) that technology could solve.  In fact, we could solve every challenge we have today with technology available today.  These are political problems.

                      The EPA has had the authority to clean up the emissions for years under the Clean Air Act.  Unfortunately, when EPA attempts to exercise their legal authority – the American Petroleum Institute banks up the Brinks armored trucks to the front door of Congress.  

                      Toxins in gasoline (benzene, toluene, xylene) are responsible every year for an estimated $200 billion in health costs and premature deaths.  The 'dirty three' could be replaces, one-for-one, with advanced ethanol.  That would require that we eliminate the blend wall (API spent millions fighting E-15).  That would require leadership from Republicans and the auto industry (every new car could be flex-fuel capable for less than $100), and in part, enviros).  If we simply converted the known agricultural wastes we generate annually in this country in to advanced biofuels (non-corn based) we would produce enough to completely eliminate the Dirty Three with billions of gallons to spare.  We'd generate a couple of million jobs in rural America.  We'd clean up the air and improve our health. 

                      I'm not putting all the blame on the Repubs on this one.   The enviro's need to get their act together, too, and support regional biofuel projects based on ag waste. (I'm not suggesting we lift the corn-ethanol cap).  They so loathe the corn ethanol industry that they can't see the forest through the trees at times; the word 'biofuels' creates a visceral reaction, even when it's source is ag waste

                      Ditto for biodiesel.  We could produce somewhere near 20% of our consumption by converting waste grease and animal tallow to clean-burning biodiesel.  There is technology created in Colorado that eliminates NOx from the combustion cycle.  Again, a political problem.  Not expensive.  Easily solvable.  

                      But, like the coal boys who get to beat their chest over their 'cheap power', they conveniently forget to inform you that the external health costs of their 'cheap power' is 4x more than the cost of their electron.  Ditto for 'cheap natural gas'; factor in the atmospheric and aquatic degradation and it's suddenly the most expensive form of energy society consumes. 

                      In all cases, if the ‘conservatives’ elected to Congress were indeed ‘conservative’, these would be their arguments. The over-all low cost alternative is generally anything that isn’t a hydrocarbon. Turns out, the only thing they are interested in conserving is their own livelihood, not those they represent.

        • VoyageurVoyageur says:

          I also drive. A Ford F250 diesel Duke ..  If well maintained I think it is less polluting than a gasoline vehicle because better mileage means less CO2 emission.  But this kind of lawless behaviour gives all of us a bad name.


  11. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    In the midst of all the angst over the diesel bill, please remember that both parties have their "kill committees." Senate Bill 16-160 met a well deserved death in House State Affairs on the 18th. This poorly written, GOP, bill would have given the state "concurrent jurisdiction" over the federal public lands. Blue Cat occasionally says that I live in some long gone past of conservatism actually making sense. Perhaps; but I was there on the 18th to testify against 160 and help usher the bill to its grave for this session. 

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