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EPA Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative Leadership Group presents awards for diesel emission reduction

Release Date: 11/13/2008
Contact Information: CONTACT: Karen Thompson, 312-353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 08-OPA175


CHICAGO (Nov. 13, 2008) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5's Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative Leadership Group today recognized people and organizations in government, non-profit and industry sectors that have acted to reduce diesel emissions. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Chicago.

Winners are: Roehl Transport, Marshfield, Wis., Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, City of Chicago Department of Fleet Management, Jessica Lawent of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Wisconsin Clean Diesel Coalition and Joe Koncelik of Frantz Ward LLP, Cleveland, Ohio.

"These award winners have all done a great job and are role models to their communities, their constituents and peers," said Cheryl Newton, acting director of EPA Region 5's air division. "Each honoree has forged unique and effective partnerships for reducing diesel emissions in the Midwest."

Wisconsin-based Roehl Transport is among the top 100 trucking companies in the nation and a member of EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership. Fifteen percent of its fleet is equipped with auxiliary power units, with the entire fleet to be fitted by 2010. Trucks are governed to a maximum speed of 63 mph and monthly driver idling standard incentives will reduce idling by 41 percent over last year.

Since 2005, Ohio EPA has collected $1,643,813 from pollution violators. This money funds grants for school districts to reduce diesel emissions. The Ohio Clean Diesel School Bus Fund has installed pollution control equipment on 642 school buses in 33 districts across the state. The program is so successful the Ohio General Assembly voted to reauthorize it through 2009.

The City of Chicago Department of Fleet Management's Diesel Vehicle Emissions Reduction Program has successfully addressed its legacy diesel fleet through a variety of pollution control technologies. To date, 519 refuse and utility trucks, street sweepers and front-end loaders have been retrofitted. In addition 346 alternative-fueled and 232 hybrid vehicles have been purchased. E-85 fuel has been added to five stations and idle-shutdown devices have been installed on 611 medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

High horsepower awards for individual excellence were presented to:

Jessica Lawent for her dedication, leadership and drive to build the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wisconsin Clean Diesel Initiative. She spearheaded the ambitious goal of affecting 50,000 legacy diesel engines in Wisconsin by 2010 through educational outreach and funding development.

Joe Koncelik, as former director of Ohio EPA's Clean Diesel School Bus Fund, created a sustained program to reduce pollution affecting children and targeting hot spots. His work, and that of various other groups, resulted in an Ohio Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant of $20 million. He continues to push for full implementation of practical solutions to Ohio's air quality issues.

The MCDI Leadership Group consists of 33 public sector and private industry organizations that share the goal of cutting emissions from one million diesel engines in the Region 5 states by 2010. The group is co-chaired by Cummins Inc., Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, American Lung Association-Upper Midwest and EPA Region 5.

Region 5 created the Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative to reduce emissions from older, existing diesel engines not covered by EPA's stringent standards for cleaner fuels and new, cleaner engines. MCDI estimates that more than 3 million diesel engines in the Midwest would benefit from the use of cleaner fuels, idle-reduction, and diesel retrofit technologies and strategies. These include rebuilding, repowering, replacing, refueling and retrofitting these engines with emission control devices. Already, the public-private partnership has undertaken more than $87.5 million in projects, affecting 570,000 engines and reducing air pollution by more than 7 million pounds per year.

Diesel emissions contain large amounts of nitrogen oxides and fine particles (soot). Nitrogen oxides are precursors of ozone (smog), which is a lung irritant, and fine particles can aggravate respiratory and heart diseases. EPA has found that fine particles from diesel engines are a leading public health risk in the Midwest.

More information on the Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative and the MCDI Leadership Group is at http://www.epa.gov/midwestcleandiesel/.

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