2006 Annual Priorities Report: Diesel Emissions
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
View the Updated Region 10 Environmental Strategy
Even though most of the Pacific Northwest meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), including standards for particulate matter, until recently there has been little evaluation on the residual risk from ambient air toxics even after attaining the NAAQS. Our National Air Toxics Assessments (NATA) of 1996 and 1999 indicate levels of concern for excess cancer risk from a number of ambient pollutants. Similar assessments by state and local agencies in Oregon and Washington indicated that projected cancer risk from diesel was much greater than for any other air toxic or combination of air toxics.
Description of the Challenge…
Why is it a priority?
Diesel engines contribute to unhealthy levels of fine particles, ozone (or “smog”) and air toxics. Fine particles are associated with increased risk of premature death, increased hospital admissions, increased respiratory symptoms such as asthma, and other adverse health effects. Long-term exposure to diesel exhaust may pose a lung cancer hazard to humans. Children are more susceptible to air pollution than healthy adults because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have a faster breathing rate. Recurrent childhood respiratory illness is a risk factor for increased susceptibility to lung disease later in life. The elderly and individuals with existing conditions are also susceptible to adverse health effects from air pollution.
Region 10 plans to use a “clean diesel” approach to reducing diesel emissions, which is regarded as the most cost-effective strategy available. It requires the use of a fuel with much lower sulfur contamination than is found in currently available highway fuel. This ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel provides some emission reduction benefit by itself but, more importantly, enables the installation of advanced exhaust after-treatment devices, even on existing in-use vehicles. This clean fuel-retrofit combination is effective in reducing the most harmful pollutants found in diesel exhaust by upwards of 95 percent. Bio-diesel, a fuel refined from vegetable oils and recycled animal fats, is also an environmentally attractive ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. Typically blended with petroleum diesel because of cost and operational considerations, it can be used to complement other clean diesel technology.
One of the biggest challenges in addressing diesel particulate risk is EPA’s limited regulatory authority over the primary contributors: onroad and non-road diesel powered vehicles. While clean diesel efforts have been promoted by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and other state and local agencies throughout the region, the focus has been on voluntary efforts supported by incentives. Several notable successes have already been achieved, but widespread acceptance will require additional financial assistance, to make “clean diesel” a cultural expectation for fleet operators and the public.
Who else is working in this area?
West Coast Collaborative (www.westcoastcollaborative.org) The main mechanism for both Regions 9 and 10 to achieve diesel emission reductions is through the West Coast Collaborative (Collaborative). Convened in April 2004, the Collaborative’s vision is to build an ambitious partnership between leaders from federal, state, and local government, the private sector, and environmental groups in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Canada and Mexico committed to reducing diesel emissions along the West Coast. The Collaborative is part of the National Clean Diesel Campaign.
Older schoolbuses can be a source of significant diesel emissions. Cooperative efforts from EPA and local partners can help replace older buses with cleaner ones.
|Goals and Objectives… |
What are the desired long-term outcomes?
Our goal is to protect public health by ensuring the maintenance of the NAAQS and achieving our States’ self-identified air toxics goals. Washington and Oregon have set goals of 1 to 10 in a million lifetime cancer risk as their goal for 2015.
Strategy and Approach…
How do we anticipate achieving our desired goals and objectives?
A variety of tools and processes will be used to advance cleaner diesel technologies and fuels in the Pacific Northwest. EPA supports the National Clean Diesel Campaign (http:// www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/) that includes both voluntary and regulatory approaches.
Region 10 uses regional and local partnerships to motivate early action, share information, provide incentives, track progress, supply technical expertise and leverage outside resources. The primary vehicle for this effort is the West Coast Collaborative. In addition, the Federal Network for Sustainability, the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin Partnership, Clean Cities Coalitions (Puget Sound, Willamette/Columbia, Treasure Valley), State Performance Partnership Agreements and other regional/ local collaborations will contribute to overall success.
The Collaborative has focused on the following sectors:
- Marine vessels and ports,
- Cleaner fuels, and
- School buses.
The Collaborative will:
EPA grants help provide newer, cleaner schoolbuses for children like these from Purdy Elementary in Gig Harbor, Washington.
Measures of Success…
How will we know we have achieved success?
- Raise public awareness of the need for diesel emission reductions and promote the many highly successful state, Tribal, local, and regional voluntary projects,
- Create a forum for informationsharing among diesel emissions reduction advocates,
- Implement regional projects, leverage funds from a variety of sources, achieve measurable emissions reductions, and create momentum for future diesel emissions mitigation efforts.
- We will ‘touch’ every legacy diesel engine with cleaner technologies by 2015 (except large marine and locomotive),
- Virtual elimination of idling on the interstate corridors by 2015,
- Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) of all spaces in Oregon, Idaho and Washington by 2015,
- Full implementation of the national Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel and Low Sulfur Diesel fuel requirements on or before mandated dates,
- Use of bio-diesel and other alternative fuels will increase every year,
- Amount of biofuel produced regionally/locally will increase,
- Amount of biofuel feedstock grown regionally/locally will increase,
- Number of retail sites will increase. This measure tracks alternative fueling sites, covering compressed natural gas (CNG), 85% ethanol (E85), liquefied petroleum.