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Post date: December 14 2001

State Fights For Cut In Air Pollution From Dirty Diesels

Attorney General Spitzer and state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Erin Crotty today joined seven other states in supporting sharp reductions in pollution from diesel trucks and buses.

Citing the benefits of reduced diesel emissions to public health and the environment, eight states and southern California's air pollution control agency urged a federal appeals court to uphold the Environmental Protection Agency's diesel regulation. The EPA regulation has been challenged by Mack Trucks, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association and other diesel engine and fuel producers.

"Reducing diesel emissions will prevent thousands of premature deaths and avoid countless cases of asthma and other respiratory illnesses" said Spitzer. "The public has been exposed to dangerous diesel pollution for long enough."

DEC Commissioner Crotty said: "New York State has made significant progress in reducing air pollutants, and we are pleased to work with other states and the federal government to control harmful diesel emissions. The EPA diesel regulation is protective of public health and the environment, and is an important component of an effective and comprehensive pollution control strategy."

The diesel regulation, issued by the Clinton Administration, will require diesel emissions of smog-forming pollutants and soot to be reduced by over 90 percent beginning in 2007.

In addition, sulfur in diesel fuel will be limited to 15 parts per million beginning in mid-2006, a 97-percent reduction from current levels. The low sulfur fuel will, in addition to reducing emissions itself, allow the use of pollution control technology on trucks and buses similar to devices now used on automobiles.

The federal government has stated that the diesel regulation will prevent over 8,000 premature deaths and tens of thousands of cases of bronchitis annually.

State and local governments have long urged EPA to use its broad authority under the Clean Air Act to reduce emissions from diesel engines and diesel fuel simultaneously.

S. William Becker, Executive Director of the State and Territorial Air Pollution Program Administrators (STAPPA) and the Association of Local Air Pollution Control Officials (ALAPCO), said: "Now that EPA has stepped up to the plate, it should be allowed to run the bases." In filing today's brief, the states were assisted by STAPPA and ALAPCO's attorneys at Georgetown University's Institute for Public Representation.

The court brief was submitted today on behalf of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, STAPPA-ALAPCO and the South Coast Air Quality Management District in California.

"The entire state of New York will benefit from this new rule, particularly Manhattan, which has some of the highest levels of diesel pollution in the entire nation." said Spitzer.

Assistant Attorneys General Lisa Feiner and Lemuel Srolovic and Deputy Solicitor General Michael Belohlavek prepared the brief for the New York Attorney General's Office.